Los Angeles Power 106 radio host J Cruz was shopping in a local Barnes & Noble a few months before his son was born and happened upon a copy of the children's book Llama Llama Red Pajamas. When he picked it up and cracked it open, he realized he was reading the lines as if he was rapping—and a light bulb went off.
Since Cruz regularly interviews hip-hop artists on his show, he wasted no time asking them if they could read Llama Llama on beat. Turns out they could. There's now a cool acapella version from DJ Khaled, a trap version by Jeezy, and a seriously dope interpretation from Remy Ma, the first female rapper to take on the challenge.
Rappers like DRAM, Kid Ink and Ayo & Teo also got in on the action—go check them out on the Power 106 YouTube Channel—but our hands-down fave freestyle is the one Ludacris came up with that starts like this: "Hey! Llama Llama. Uh. Red pajama. Reads a story. With who? With his mama!"
That video alone has over 2 million views. Way to kill it, Luda!
Cruz told USA Today he thinks the segments have been so successful for two reasons. First, because they show the human and playful side of the rappers that the audience doesn't necessarily get to see. And second, and more importantly, the videos are actually getting kids excited about reading.
"We've gotten emails from people who have said, 'Our son didn't like to read and this encouraged him to read more,'" Cruz said. "We even had a classroom tweet us a video of them singing Llama Llama."
Next up: J Cruz hopes to bring in major artists like Kanye and Nicki Minaj. "Think about Kanye West and Llama Llama Red Pajama," he said. "That would be insane right?"
Um yeah. Especially considering this epic quote Yeezy dished out back in 2009:
"I am not a fan of books," he said. "I would never want a book's autograph. I am a proud non-reader of books."