Vin Diesel has a new non-Fast and the Furious movie out, a second sequel to XXX. This one is better known in some circles as the movie that begins with a James Bond stand-in getting shot then crowd surfed at a Rammstein concert. XXX 3: The Return of Xander Cage (yet) features former NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez (Tony!), Australia’s sweetheart Toni Collette (Toni!), and martial arts megastar Tony Jaa (not to be confused with Toné!), and a set-piece teased in the trailers promises the sight of Vin Diesel chasing Donnie Yen while riding a jet-ski motorcycle hybrid into a cresting wave. So, yeah, there’s that.
While out promoting this likely masterwork (did I mention that Ice Cube reprises his role from the second, Vin-less installment of the franchise?), Vin stopped by The Late Late Show with James Corden. In the clip, which you can see above, the actor waxes nostalgic about a role that had him eating a tub of ice cream every day in order to gain weight. Then he lapses into a cockney accent, which leads to talk of the musical Oliver, which leads to Vin singing that musical’s most well-known song “Consider Yourself.” He stands, getting the audience to cheer for the idea of a Vin Diesel Carpool Karaoke, then sings the song again, cockney accent and all, this time as an audition for the popular Corden segment.
Of course, anyone with a passing familiarity with Vin knows there’s serious precedent for this moment, and a serious need for a Vin Diesel Carpool Karaoke ASAP. In fact, Vin using his growly pipes to make sweet, sweet music is nothing new. Let’s visit these moments when Vin shared his voice with us.
That Weird Collaboration with Arthur Russell
While the image that comes attached to the YouTube clip of this makes it look like a cheap-y mashup, the audio therein is very, very real. Arthur Russell is known as a dance music pioneer who pushed the organic sounds of a cello into far flung echo before fusing them with pulsing electronic beats, far-out soundscapes, and melancholy pop songs. But here, his beats are backing a teenage rapping Vin Diesel (at the time still going by Mark Sinclair), recorded in 1986. Apparently Lucas, a fixture in the New York music scene, discovered Diesel “rapping and break-dancing on the streets of the West Village,” then had him freestyle over some primitive Russell beats. His rhymes are admittedly not that great. He opens with “Ha ha! Party people! It’s time to get stupid!” The he delves into simplistic Anthony Kiedis-esque couplets like “knew this girl in junior high, she was Puerto Rican and she was fly.” Vin also doesn’t necessarily sing here, but the audio stands as early evidence of Vin’s musical proclivities.
His Karaoke Version of Rihanna’s Stay
The day after Valentine’s Day in 2013, Vin dropped this Karaoke version of Rihanna’s “Stay” on Facebook, and the world wondered where the aural honey of Vin’s voice had been all this time. The staging is aces as well, a glimpse into what very well may be Vin’s very dimly lit karaoke basement and our personal heaven. There’s a sinister air about the clip, too, like you could edit it into a David Lynch movie and it wouldn’t distract. Wearing tattered jeans and a blazer like a teenager just barely making the country club dress code, he sings while RiRi’s video is projected on the screen behind him.
One for Pablo
Lastly, when paying tribute to his departed Fast and Furious co-star at the 2015 MTV Movie Awards, Vin sang a couple lines from the song “See You Again.” He said, “The last time I stood on this stage, I was with my brother Pablo.” Then he launched into the song (which plays before the end credits of Furious 7 while Vin basically breaks the fourth wall and eulogizes the actor).
And who knows? Maybe Vin will put those pipes to use in the new, eighth installment of the Furious franchise. His character, Dom, seems to have turned against his family in this one, so maybe evil Dom sings? We can only hope.