Rakim Will Appear In Luke Cage And Perform An Original Song
On June 22, season two of Marvel’s Luke Cage series will premiere on Netflix. The record-breaking show, which helped the network’s stock soar (and its servers to crash) when it debuted in 2016, was created by Cheo Hodari Coker and implemented Hip-Hop in inventive ways. Season one’s episodes were named after Gang Starr songs, while the forthcoming follow-up takes a cue from Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth classics. Next, as evidenced by Coker’s own insight, season two of Luke Cage will take the Hip-Hop influence even further.
Ghostface Killah, KRS-One, Jadakiss and Rakim will all appear as special guests on season two, and The God MC will even be contributing some original music. In an interview with Billboard, Coker reveals details about his plans for the second season. Of Rakim’s contribution, he says “Not only do we have him on Luke Cage, we have him performing a song about Luke Cage…It’s manna from heaven.” He adds, “Music is at the center of every decision I make for the show, probably to the point where it annoys most people.”
Returning to score the show are Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, which Billboard’s Melinda Newman points out makes “the show one of the few to use African American composers.” Coker emphasizes her point, saying the duo is the show’s “secret ingredient” and adds “They are as important to the success of the show as anyone in the cast, anyone directing, anyone writing, producing, period. My partnership with the two of them is a non-negotiable.”
In the show’s first season, Coker enlisted the help of artists including Raphael Saadiq, Faith Evans, Method Man and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. It was an ambitious undertaking, as he explains that “No other Marvel show had featured [live] music.” Considering Rakim hasn’t released a solo album since 2009’s The Seventh Seal, his decision to pen an original track for the show is an even more impressive pull, as far as Hip-Hop Heads are concerned. It may also prove to be beneficial to Rakim’s back catalog; as Newman points out, Nielsen Music credits an uptick in streaming numbers for artists featured on season one to their appearances on the show. “Jidenna’s ‘Long Live The Chief’ leapt 2,134 percent the week following the artist’s appearance, while Faith Evans’ ‘Mesmerized’ soared 516 percent,” she writes.
Other artists slated to appear as performers in the show’s fictional Harlem’s Paradise nightclub are Faith Evans, Joi & D-Nice, Gary Clark Jr., Esperanza Spalding, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and Stephen Marley.