By Carl Lamarre

11/21/2023 (Billboard)

“Ay, Carl, you need me to Superkick your ass, too?” snarls WWE superstar Jey Uso.

While the invite seems tempting, I back down, knowing Jey is a trigger-happy wrestler who revels in unexpected kicks to the chin and top turnbuckle splashes. The swaggering athlete isn’t just a nine-time WWE tag-team champion but a lyrical obliterator on the mic.

He and his twin brother, Jimmy Uso, arguably have not only one of the best WWE entrances of all time, courtesy of their song “Day One Ish,” but also a history of decimating their peers in freestyle battles. In 2017, the Usos chewed out The New Day in a lyrical skirmish during Monday Night Raw. Hosted by Wale, Jey, and Jimmy savored the opportunity of skewering the New Day with their menacing bars. According to Jey, he and his brother’s love for penning raps came during their high school days. They would freestyle for their friends in the cafeteria and in return, received “oohs” and “aahs” for their steely efforts.

“I knew at the freestyle battle that they didn’t know we would come the way we did. They were doing some nursery rhymes over there,” Jey remembers about the classic 2017 battle against the New Day. “I knew we wanted them to be like, ‘What is going on here, dog?’ Let alone on national TV. Hell yeah, we gonna fire it up.”

Fast forward, Uso is now one of the most popular wrestlers in the business. After being embroiled in a three-year saga with his cousin, WWE undisputed champion Roman Reigns, Jey departed from WWE’s highly touted faction, The Bloodline, to live out his dreams as “Main Event Jey Uso.” Now, on his solo expedition, Jey has his own new WWE entrance theme, which remixes the bombastic original “Day One Ish.” The new song, “Main Event Ish,” symbolizes Jey’s lone wolf status, as he howls, “It’s just me Uce. Day one ish. It’s just me Uce,” on the hook.”

With dreams of overtaking Gunther, the WWE’s longest-reigning intercontinental champion, and fighting his brother Jimmy at the Super Bowl of all wrestling events, Wrestlemania, Jey has no issue superkicking anyone on his way to the top.

Billboard spoke to Jey about his love for Nipsey Hussle, wanting to invite Sexxy Red to a WWE show, why Kodak Black is his spirit animal, and recording his new entrance song “Main Event Ish.”

Big E did an interview a couple of years ago and he was like, “You guys were so good at rapping, you could drop an EP.” If Jey Uso was gonna drop a rap EP, who are the three people you’re calling up for features?

J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and T-Pain.

Why those three?

J. Cole is Cole and Kendrick is Kendrick. T-Pain, we grew up in Pensacola, Florida down the street from Tallahassee in the early 2000s. T-Pain was slapping. We used to ride out to Panama City Beach playing his hits before football games. It’s Florida boy all day.

What music are you listening to get pumped for your match-ups?

Nipsey Hussle, man. He be putting me in the zone. J. Cole is my favorite. I ain’t never been to no concerts, but if I ever get to go to a J. Cole concert, I’m in there. 2Pac, Jay-Z. We in there. I got a playlist all the way to damn Britney Spears. We got range over here.

Who would you say is the Jey Uso of the rap game?

I don’t even put myself up like that because I’m hustling trying to find myself. If I had to pick somebody, Kodak Black. He really be making noise out there, but he really don’t be. He’s trying to find his way out there just like me.

Talk about how the original “Day One Ish” song came about with your brother Jimmy.

After we turned heel, I knew we had to get away from all the colors. We’re dropping all the facepaint, we’re just going black-and-white. At the time, nobody was wearing white boots at all. We at the mall. Damn Champs got one and the other half-off type of stuff. We got these black joggers and this black hoodie with the white Forces. In the middle of the mall, where they put the logo on your shirts. We sitting on there, “What we gon’ put on this s–t?” My brother’s like, “I don’t know, man. Some Day One S–t?” We can’t say s–t but what about ish? You know how they blank it out on the rap records. “Day One Ish, uce.”

So it really means “Day One S–t.” We put that on a hoodie and we wore it on TV and it stuck since. Some “Day One Ish” from then on. We got in the booth and they wanted us to have new music. We had these two younger cats that came up with the hook, “Down since Day One Ish.” We was just ad-libbing on the track and they let us flow. First couple times we was held back, but then we got warmed up and started yelling and hitting it. We were damn near sweating in the booth.

What was it like re-recording your new entrance music solo? What was that energy like?

I went back to New York. They wanted to take Jimmy off the original. The Usos and the Uso Penitentiary – take all that out. I’m like, “Fly me over there, let me see if I can re-do it.” They wanted to keep the “Day One Ish, [and] line ‘em all up.” I could keep all that, but I needed a damn switch for that beginning part. I’m in there with another young homie. He’s like trying to help me find the rhythm. He goes, “It’s just you now.” I go, “Yeah, it is. It’s just me on the track.”

Then I started like, “It is just me in this b–-ch.” It’s my turn. I started getting in that mindset. I was like, “Main Event Jey Uso is now in yo city!” I started yelling on there, and he’s plugging it in. Taking the old parts out and plugging in the new s–t. The beats were a little more tweaked. Other than that, I kept it to when I get on the turnbuckle — this part right here, no lyrics. This just needs to be the beat. This is where the hip-hop hooray handwave or whatever you wanna call it comes from. I wanted to incorporate the audience into it. It will make you say, “Ay.” I wanted to bleep all the lyrics out and just have the people getting involved here. Every second of that theme is timed to as soon as I hit the turnbuckle, they’re there with me. All timing, dog.

Did you see the Sexyy Red “SkeeYee” mash-up? What were your thoughts? I know she said she wants to pull up for a show.

First off, I was like, “No way, dog! She out here responding?” Then, I see her in a controversy and I don’t give a damn. Us too, who cares? Let’s get these numbers in with her. She’s still down and said she’s never came to a wrestling live event, a PLE, TV taping. If you hear this, [Sexyy,] you’ll be my VIP guest around here, girl. You can come out with me and help me sing my theme song. We gon’ have to change that red to blue though!

I think it’s dope entertainers are pivoting into wrestling whether it’s Bad Bunny or Logan Paul. Who’s the next athlete or entertainer you’d like to see step into the ring?

First one that comes to mind is Conor McGregor. He’s kinda been tip-toeing around us a little bit. He’s had interactions with a couple of us, but never fully got in here. I’d like to see what he’s about. I love Shaquille O’Neal, so I personally think about LeBron James and I know he’s a huge fan. Let’s run it. They can all catch this Superkick though. Sexyy Red can get her ass Superkicked too!

Thanksgiving is coming up, and I’m concerned how the house gonna be with you, Solo, Jimmy and your dad Rikishi. Talk about what that dynamic’s gonna be like.

Ay, Carl, ain’t nobody coming to my house for Thanksgiving except my dad. That’s the only one. I’ma fly him down. Last year, I fried a turkey and everybody ate that. I’m frying three turkeys this year. It’s going down. As far as Solo and Jimmy, y’all take your asses home and stay somewhere. Especially Solo, he’s over there tripping.

What does an ideal singles run look like for Jey Uso?

The first singles championship on the top of my list is the IC [Intercontinental Championship] title. Gunther gonna have to run that. Everybody over there. He likes the Tribal Chief, you see what I do to the Tribal Chief? I don’t give a damn, let’s run that. My dad was an IC champion, my uncle, Umaga IC champion. Shawn Michaels. My favorite wrestler, the greatest, Razor Ramon. All the greats held the Intercontinental Championship and I’m trying to get that. That’s Pay-Per-View material right there.

You and your brother Jimmy had the conversation of what a Wrestlemania match-up would look like. With Wrestlemania 40, do you have in mind who’d you want to fight on that stage?

Right now, I feel like Jimmy’s at the top of the list. He’s gotta get this work. He’s still ducking me right now. He knows what it is. If I could talk from Josh and me, it’s my dream match. If this does happen, I’d be so grateful and happy. I would just look at him like look what we doing. Look at this! Those are special moments in the ring that nobody in the world knows. When we did the Money in the Bank with Roman [Reigns] and Solo, I was just looking at them getting a little teary-eyed like, “Look at us.” That would go down as the No. 1 moment in my career if I get to wrestle with Jimmy in the sold-out Philadelphia in front of friends and family. And I’d beat his ass. If I could pick someone else, I’d probably wanna run it one time with Seth Rollins for that championship. He’s a GOAT. He’s a beast and got my respect. He’s been holding down Monday Night RAW forever. I’m with it.