There aren’t many media franchises that have stood the test of time like Transformers. The never-ending civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons started in cartoon form in 1984 and transcended into a billion-dollar machine (pun intended) that is still viable to this day via comic books, videos games and a blockbuster film series directed by Michael Bay. Hip-hop has been along for the alien robot ride for a while.
In 1991, Leaders of the New School dropped a song titled “Transformers” on the group's debut album A Future Without a Past, which nodded to the series metaphorically. Over the years, mentions of Megatron and Optimus Prime’s galactic beef has made it’s way into rap music dozens of times, with everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Mac Miller to DMX plugging the beloved franchise.
Future, Warren G and Rico Nasty are also among those who have tracks titled after the show. Just Blaze is such a fan that he's donned the alias Megatron Don for years. Yung Berg famously sported a huge Transfdformer pendant on his chain in the late 2000s. The gaudy piece was impressive but, unfortunately for him, he was infamously relieved of the piece during a club altercation in 2008.
The shout-outs have continued 35 years after the original show debuted. Most recently, Nicki Minaj dropped her first solo single of 2019 with “Megatron,” named for the franchise's lead antagonist.
With Transformers continuing to permeate in the zeitgeist all these years later, XXL compiles a list of hip-hop tracks that reference the storied toy-and-film franchise.
“Get at Me Dog," DMX (1998)
“Get the bitches, and I'll commit the crime/And when it's on we transform like Optimus Prime”
“Light Speed,” Dr. Dre Featuring Ms. Roq, Hittman and Knoc-Turn-Al (1999)
“In these drastic surroundings, it be sounding like Lebanon/Makin' fools ‘Retreat!’ like Megatron and Starscream” —Hittman
“Growing Pains,” Ludacris Featuring Lil Fate (2001)
“In three months we stayed in Jamestown, Hamwood and Diplomats/Played with Transformers, G.I. Joe's and Thundercats” —Lil Fame
“100 Bars,” The Game (2003)
“Nobody wanna be a hero when the Tec is drawn/They're Transformers, folding up, like Decepticons”
“Can I Have It Like That,” Pharrell Featuring Gwen Stefani (2005)
“She like the way my hands use her body for hand warmers/And all our car doors go up like Transformers” —Pharrell
“Exhibit C,” Jay Electronica (2009)
“Transforming with the Megatron Don, spittin' out flames (Oh!)/Eating wack rappers alive, shittin' out chains (Woo!)”
“Light Years Ahead,” ScHoolboy Q Featuring Kendrick Lamar (2011)
“Yeah, NASA left behind (Huh)/I'm so beyond, somewhere with Megatron/I'm super gone, you can't relate to him” —ScHoolboy Q
“Transformation,” Fabolous (2012)
“Someone who get money without dropping a dime/And transform to your leader in my optimus prime/So, for dinner, we stopping at Prime”
“Control,” Big Sean Featuring Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica (2013)
“I've seen niggas transform like villain Decepticons/Mollies probably turn these niggas to fuckin' Lindsay Lohan” —Kendrick Lamar
“I’m Not Real,” Mac Miller Featuring Earl Sweatshirt (2013)
“Let's get it on, I'm royal like Tenenbaums in Lebanon/Decepticons, hit it 'til my head is gone” —Mac Miller
“IANAHB,” Lil Wayne (2013)
“Last night, I took a transformer/And had a dream that my dick turned to Megatron/But my girl was sleeping with Decepticons”
“Cross the Country,” Migos (2014)
“And I'm thinking 'bout moving to Babylon/My niggas collecting extortion funds/We built an empire like Megatron” —Quavo
“Feel It,” Rapsody (2014)
“Squad—we like Autobots in Idlewild/The future looks amazin', our drive is crazy-wild, you crazy, child”
“Transformer,” Future Featuring Nicki Minaj (2018)
“I'm still the bad guy, I am a Decepticon/Some call me Nicki but some call me Megatron/I'm stoppin' bags and I don't need a red octagon” —Nicki Minaj
“Bar’d Up,” KXNG Crooked (2019)
“Upper echelon, our team/Never test the don/Weapons long, goin' Decepticons, make a Starscream (Yeah!)”