I don’t typically say “It’s on like Donkey Kong”. But I do maybe think it. It means you’re ready to throw down. Like, double throw down and get really serious about accomplishing what you maybe had already tried once or twice. I make a lot of rhyming phrases but not this one. But, I wondered, where did it come from?
1981: Nintendo’s Donkey Kong, an arcade game that features a plumber dodging fireballs and barrels thrown by a giant ape, becomes an overnight sensation.
Nov. 17, 1992: Rapper Ice Cube brings the phrase to the masses on his The Predator album, in the first line of the track “Now I Gotta Wet’cha.”
It’s on like Donkey Kong
You wanted that fast buck
Now I gotta light that ass up
June 18, 2000: Rapper and pioneering wordsmith Snoop Dogg uses the term to express his delight over a reconstructed Lakers team that includes Shaquille O’Neal, a young Kobe Bryant and new coach Phil Jackson.
“I really love these hip-hop Lakers. Now with Phil, it’s on like Donkey Kong.”
2000-2005: For the next five years, the phrase exploded in popularity, appearing everywhere from the movie “Dumb and Dumberer” to the NHL finals.
My favorite use of the phrase during this period was in the Trace Adkins song “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”:
“Got it going on like Donkey Kong, and whoo-wee, shut my mouth, slap your grandma, there oughta be a law”.
May 14, 2006: Guy Fieri wins “Next Food Network Star.” Adopts “On like Donkey Kong” as one of his catchphrases. No word whether he’s changed it to “I’m all that, like Mortal Kombat” in the wake of Nintendo’s recent legal maneuvers. (See below.)
Sept. 3, 2009: “On like Donkey Kong” has been a popular quote in crime stories throughout the years. The best quote by far came from this police blotter item that appeared in the Charlestown Post and Courier in South Carolina.
And over the past years, it seems that it’s held on strong like Donkey Kong too! ; )
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