It seems we have now entered the WTF phase of Shia LaBeouf’s mystifying-yet-fascinating career.
The 29-year-old who got his start collecting Daytime Emmys for his turn as a Dennis the Menace-like troublemaker on the Disney Channel’s Even Stevens has, through a series of Hollywood misadventures and psychedelic drugs, evolved into something of a modern-day renaissance man; a mini James Franco (if Franco spent less time taking selfies and more time tripping balls and causing mayhem).
LaBeouf’s latest offering to the online gods is a particularly potent shred of cultural mana: a minute-plus video of the Transformers star freestyle rapping, his unmistakable rat-tail slung over his shoulder. In the video, the shirtless actor appears to be entertaining a group of amused/bewildered teenagers with his heretofore unseen emcee skills.
“You can’t really fuck with this, dog, I’m the best in the west and shit /If you could give me this shoe, yo, you know the shoe fits and this Jew do spew shit and the shit’s sick /Oh shit, best to do this since Tupac was doing music /Yessir, this Jewish kid still spew this sick shit, though.”
This video, of course, comes on the heels of another one-minute, meme-ready video wherein a jacked-up LaBeouf delivered what can only be described as one of the most intense and confounding motivational speeches ever, replete with plenty of flexing, pointing, and yelling, “DO IT!”
Other strange recent happenings in the Life of LaBeouf include his former neighbor, Brandon Bird, who painted LaBeouf as all 13 Doctor Who doctors. He’s also become a pretty method-y actor these days, including guzzling moonshine and scrapping with Tom Hardy during the filming of Lawless; dropping acid for Charlie Countryman; going full-frontal in Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac; and earlier this week, suffering a massive head injury requiring 20 stitches and 13 staples after demanding to perform his own stunt while filming American Honey, directed by Andrea Arnold.
And lest we forget his plagiarism controversy and subsequent bizarre L.A. art project #IAMSORRY, where he let attendees join him in a room and stare at LaBeouf in silence, clad in a suit and with a paper bag over his head. Our reporter removed the bag to reveal a sobbing LaBeouf, while the actor claims that a more aggressive patron took it upon herself to rape him.
Last May, he continued his performance art shtick with the project Meditation for Narcissists, which he put on at London’s Auto Italia South East. It entailed LaBeouf jumping rope for an hour via Skype, and encouraging those in the audience to take ropes provided by the gallery and jump along with him, or in his words, “join me on my quest to find my inner self.”
The following month, that would be June 2014, LaBeouf was arrested after acting drunk and disorderly, yelling at the stage during a performance of Cabaret at New York’s Studio 54 Theater. He refused to leave, and was hauled off by police—who claimed in the arrest report that he spat on them.
Earlier this year, he joined dance sensation Maddie Ziegler for the riveting music video to Sia’s “Elastic Heart,” featuring LaBeouf and Ziegler interpretive cage-dancing to reflect a contentious father-daughter relationship.
Interestingly enough, LaBeouf’s first name, Shia, is derived from the Hebre shai Yah, which translates to “gift of God.” His last name translates to “The Beef.” So, you can translate his full name to, “Thank God for the Beef.”