Luke Cage Got Some Unexpected Inspiration For Its Episodes

luke cage

In two months, the Marvel live-action universe is going to open up in a huge way when Luke Cage brings the impenetrable superhero to Netflix for some Harlem-set crimefighting. More so than any other Marvel project before it, Luke Cage is dedicating some of its focus on music, with jazz, funk and hip-hop getting highlighted. And it looks like music's influence went even deeper than we thought, as all of Season 1's 13 episodes are named after songs from the seminal hip-hop duo Gang Starr.

While titling TV episodes wasn't always standard practice, it's almost an oddity when modern series avoid using the distinction, and creators like to sometimes use them to input clues or other references specific to the shows. (Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan is known for this.) So while Luke Cage's episodic titles may not draw out any deep secrets about what fans can expect from the conflict between Cage and the criminal underworld, they definitely strengthen the drama's ties to not only music, but its location and the struggles attached to it.

Though DJ Premier was from Houston and the MC Guru was from Boston, Gang Starr was largely based out of New York City and served as a big part of the Northeast's hardcore rap movement. The duo gained legions of fans and critical acclaim throughout the 1990s despite never really gaining wide national attention, and a similar story can be told about Luke Cage, a character whose decades of popularity never equated to the live-action big time before Netflix stepped in.

Gang Starr's connection to Luke Cage came from Huffington Post, and showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker took to Twitter today to get specific about a few of the classic tracks getting honored by the show.

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The first episode, "Moment of Truth," is named after the title track of the successful 1998 album, the last one that the duo would release before Guru's death in 2000. "Code of the Streets" was from the previous album, 1994's Hard to Earn, while "Who's Gonna Take the Weight?" came from 1991's Step In the Arena. Will Luke Cage indeed find his direction through introspection to answer the question "Can we be the sole controllers of our fate?" Will he, in fact, take the weight?

Now that the lyrics have started flowing, it would be a crime in and of itself not to get a whole Gang Starr video in this story.

Luke Cage will light up the night with some Starr-related business when the entirety of Season 1 debuts on Netflix on Friday, September 30. To see everything else hitting the streaming service this year, check out our Netflix premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.