Some twelve years after her first rap song debuted in 2006 on Saturday Night Live, Natalie Portman debuted “Natalie’s 2nd Rap” on Saturday, a slightly darker, equally aggressive disruption of her well-liked, scandal-free public persona.
The new version takes cues from Drake’s “Jumpman” and Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow,” while the song from 2006 is decidedly more New York in spirit, a call-back to rap of the late ‘90s and early 2000s.
And yes, Portman’s version of herself in “Natalie’s 2nd Rap” definitely is touchy about the Star Wars prequels in which she starred from 1999 to 2005, a series of movies that are are now universally hated.
“Say something about the motherfucking prequels, bitch,” raps Portman, dressed as Padmé Amidala. “Say something fucking nice about Jar-Jar Binks.”
The 2006 song came during the height of the Lonely Island-style digital shorts co-written by cast member Andy Samberg (“Lazy Sunday” came out the previous year). The 2018 follow-up also has a Samberg cameo, just as the 2006 one did.
Since 2006, Portman’s taken on dramatic acting roles (Black Swan and Jackie to name two) that have added depth to how the public might see her. When the question is asked in 2018 — “What if Natalie was actually gangster and also very mean?” — the joke still lands, even if the set-up isn’t as much of a contrast as it was when her portrayal of a “manic pixie dream girl” in Garden State was fresh in our collective memory.
Portman’s a grown woman now, of course she’s kind of a bad-ass.