First things first, if you don’t fuck with Kung Fu, Pandas or Kung Fu Panda, then you chose the wrong cyber alley to walk after dark, homie. Speaking ill of any of those will get you reenacting Ricky’s last moments in Boyz in Da Hood. You can’t swing a Pixar employee without hitting a new animated film with talking animals/creatures with top notch celebrity voice talent, but Kung Fu Panda still upper echelon, fam. Especially when the Minions getting full movies and shit and we’re about to get Ice Age 47 this year. And if we talkin’ Kung Fu Panda, we talkin’ about some against all odds, martial arts deliciousness. We talkin’ villains, yo. Nothing beats the original. Tai Lung was the truth the Elric Brothers had no business seeing. As the greatest Snow Leopard of all time, for Kung Fu Panda, you gotta put Tai Lung in the Top Five Dead or Alive.
Yo, you know how this dark prophecy shit works, fam. Cats (literally cats, since dude is a Snow Leopard) just out here surviving as an orphan, trying to find his place in the world and also happens to have a once in a lifetime type of talent. Tai Lung was the prodigy, yo, but was denied his legacy cuz Oogway (read: Turtle Shell Yoda) saw darkness in him. So yeah, homie was mad he done worked his whole life to be told that some unseen thing makes him not worthy. You ever work your whole life for one job you’re immensely qualified for, just for the CEO to be like, ‘Nah’ when you up for promotion? You might have an impulse to fuck up the Jade Palace.
But you aren’t a master of Leopard Style, so you didn’t. Tai Lung was and went into straight up “who gon check me boo?” mode. Well, Oogway, checked him, to answer that last question, but that’s besides the point. The Rap Game was Dragon Warrior and Tai Lung still had the hottest mixtape in the street. Maybe we need to look at Shifu and his shoddy leadership. Dude practically raised Tai Lung, but I guess we on some Nature vs Nurture shit, huh. Fuck that, free Tai Lung!
With a new lease on life like Andy Dufresne”
Tai Lung was in a prison for 20 years, fam. They had your boy with the Hannibal Lectur for Martial Arts Master vice for 20 years, dude. In his prime? That’s like LeBron being in a cast from 19-39 and still being the most feared player on the court when he’s 40. Dude picked his lock with a fuckin’ peacock feather and his own tail, cracked his nuckles, rolled his neck and basically told the whole prison to get right with their god.
But, the static and kinetic is power”
Speaking of when he tossed his demo to Zeng after he broke out of prison, it’s the first time we hear Tai Lung’s voice and yes, my ninjas, it’s the gawd of vocals and monologues, Al Swearegen himself, Ian McShane. Yo, if you’ve read just about anything from me, then you know I want Ian McShane to star in every gotdamn thing Being John Malkovich style. But he’s perfect to voice the most terrifying villain in these Kung Fu streets, fam. The charismatic and yet menacing demeanor. The matter of fact Jaguar Shade style.
The confidence of a predator cat that just wants to watch the world burn. Dude is mister steal your technique in the club. McShane got the range of a fuckin’ guided missile with his vocals and gives Tai Lung all the nuisance necessary, from fighting his former master to his ultimate defeat, it’s all there, fam.
So I play to the tune of my own eardrum”
Unlike the sequels (which I still fux with, but they still ain’t 2Pac, nah mean), Tai Lung was a beast because it was all him, yo. He didn’t need no fuckin’ cannons or all the metal in China. And he didn’t need the mastery of mystic arts like Chi to imprison souls to fight for him. As Omar would be happy to hear, Tai Lung was the fuckin’ Rock Lee of Kung Fu Panda villains. Just straight up, you can catch these hands and I don’t need any back up singers.
Fuck your rhythm section. Fuck your autotune and your sound engineer. Fuck yo background vocals and your Super Bowl pyrotechnics. Tai Lung out there with One Mic like Nas spittin’ the ill shit, A capella with nothing but a spotlight and the fiercest claws this side of the Ming Dynasty. He should’ve known he didn’t need the Dragon Scroll cuz he been wreckin’ the game with nothin’ but Blood, Sweat and other cat’s tears his whole life.
pointin’ to their scars like, nah baby / really Tai did this”
And simply, Tai Lung was the fuckin’ illest in combat. I don’t care. I don’t care, I don’t fuckin’ care. I already broke down his prison escape, but he took on the Furious Five like that shit was a warm up before his crossfit class. He out here on a rope bridge handing out overtime to five kung fu masters like the Jade Palace was short staffed and someone needed to make up the hours.
Tigress tried to hit him with “How do you know I’m not the Dragon Warrior?” and Tai Lung hit her back like, “Ain’t nobody coming to see you Otis.” And then after surviving their best effort there, your boy hits them all with the good night juice and leaves them to go tell the village to knock them milk bottles together and come out and play.
Do I even need to get into how Tai Lung put the paws on Master Shifu? How your boy literally broke out the super combo from Street Fighter and hit Shifu with the hot nickles?! Sheeyet, Tai Lung out here doing the Lawd’s work with the rage and the technique and nobody could see him…until the obligatory ending where the hero must prevail against a superior foe. LAAAAAAAME. We all know how that shit would’ve really went down. Happy endings man. If Tai Lung was in the Game of Thrones universe, dude might be sitting the Iron Throne as we speak.