Mark Ronson wants James Corden to toughen up his image. Earlier this month, the Late Late Show host delivered a Frozen-styled monologue duet with actor Josh Gad – a performance that didn’t sit well with the “Uptown Funk” producer. “You’re from the streets – you’re forgetting where you’re from,” Ronson says in the above opening from Tuesday’s episode, challenging the host to rap his monologue. “This sounds like a terrible idea,” Corden says. “It’s been awhile since my last rap battle.” But he obliges, tossing off slightly-behind-the-beat rhymes about politics and pop culture.
Ronson cues up a jazzy drum beat, adding occasional scratches as the host warms up with jokes about Hillary Clinton, the Full House revival and Bruce Jenner. “Try the Kylie Jenner challenge; your lips will start to grow,” he raps. “I did Bruce’s version, now I’m singing soprano!” Then Corden drops the bad rapper act and unleashes his true inner MC, throwing down a limber verse to a retooled version of Reggie Watts’ Late Late Show theme song.
Ronson also sits down on the couch to discuss his new album, Uptown Special, and the joys of collaborating with his musical hero, the legendary Stevie Wonder, who added guest harmonica on the LP. The R&B legend recorded his parts in a Chicago studio and sent them back to Ronson, though the British musician admits they’ve never met in real life.
“I was supposed to meet him, and then I just freaked out and kinda just left,” Ronson says of a botched meeting after a Wonder show in Toronto. “I was just too afraid to meet him. You know what they say, ‘don’t meet your heroes because you’re afraid what they might be like?’ I’m more afraid of what I might be like with Stevie Wonder — like a crying mess.”