The late actor may be best known for his roles in Dirty Dancing and Ghost, but let's not forget his unmistakeable influence on urban music
Read the numerous obituaries for Patrick Swayze and one thing seems to have been forgotten: his influence on hip-hop. 'Influence on hip-hop?' I hear you scream. Well yes, actually – the Hollywood beefcake was a favourite namecheck for many rappers, and far more likely to be referenced than, say, Richard Gere or Mel Gibson. Why? Because his name rhymes with 'crazy', of course.
An early use of the Swayze/crazy rhyme scheme was demonstrated by Kool G Rap on Marley Marl's The Symphony Part II back in 1991, presumably referring to his performance in Roadhouse rather than in Dirty Dancing: 'Reach for the pistol and you're crazy/ Try to blast and I'll be swinging that ass like Patrick Swayze.'
Yet the crazy Swayze couplet was still going strong long after Patrick's movie career had foundered, as evidenced by Young Jeezy's 2007 track And Then What, in which the Atlanta coke-rapper followed the familiar boast 'I'm so crazy' by declaring that, 'these other rappers [are] actors like Patrick Swayze'.
In the 90s, the word 'Swayze' even took on a life of its own within rap, coming to mean 'gone' or 'outta here', as in: 'We dropped the microphone, then we Swayze' (Tha Alkaholiks). Hip-hop historians believe that it was originally a reference to Patrick Swayze's titular role in the film Ghost, as evidenced by EPMD in their 1992 song It's Going Down, from the Juice soundtrack: 'Now I'm Swayze, ghost, the rap host.'
The newly-coined term was a favourite for Notorious BIG: 'That's why I bust back, it don't faze me/ When he drop, take his glock and I'm Swayze' he boasted in 1994 on 2Pac's Runnin' (Dying To Live). 'Out of her fuckin' mind, now I got mine, I'm Swayze' growled Method Man on Bring The Pain, rhyming it with "Driving Miss Daisy" and still managing to sound thoroughly menacing. Ice-T and his Sex, Money & Gunz crew even had a song called Swazy, essentially warning wannabe girlfriends that they didn't intend to stick around for cuddles after sex. Curiously, Jay-Z didn't appear to care for the term, despite the possibilities afforded by the rhyme with his own name.
Now that Swayze is himself Swayze, maybe we'll witness a fresh trend for the use of the word among the hip-hop fraternity. Or perhaps his name will gradually drop out of the hip-hop lexicon altogether, to be replaced by George Clooney (rhymes with 'loony'), Robbie Coltrane ('insane') or Barbra Streisand in Yentl (you get the idea). We can but hope.