Published Sep 9, 2019
‘Star Trek’ Mixtape 2: Electric Boogaloo
Boldly exploring the Starship Enterprise’s influence on hip-hop
By Tamara Palmer
Pure Energy: The Ultimate ‘Star Trek’ Mixtapedropped here earlier this summer and explores four decades of artists who have sampled or referenced the world of Star Trek. That set featured a lot of electronic music, including classic techno and drum & bass anthems that made iconic dancefloor heroes out of Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy. Now it’s time for the sequel, and we’re about to delve into how the Starship Enterprise made its way into hip-hop culture!
Eternal gratitude goes to my DJ professor, Babu from the Beat Junkie Institute of Sound in Glendale, CA for vibing with me on my song selection and helping me sketch out ideas for this final mix. You can save your own playlist of these songs on Spotify, but don’t forget to check out the continuous DJ mix of the set (as seen below, and linked here for your convienence, recorded live on turntables just for you, to get the full flavor!
Master P featuring Fiend, Mystikal and Silkk the Shocker — “Captain Kirk” (1997)
Master P and his OG guard of No Limit Soldiers offer an intergalactic take on Bay Area rapper E-40’s 1993 pimpish cut “Captain Save a Hoe,” with a memorable hook attempting to tap Captain Kirk for his impregnating powers.
Dr. Octagon — “Technical Difficulties” (1996)
New York’s inimitably cosmic rapper Kool Keith rhymes about Chewbacca, Kurt Cobain, Santa Claus and Mary J. Blige (to name a few) as producer Dan the Automator creates accompanying rhythms by cutting up familiar sounds from the Starship Enterprise.
ScHoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar — “Light Years Ahead” (2011)
Kendrick Lamar’s guest verse on his labelmate ScHoolboy Q’s “Light Years (Sky HigH)” ahead shouts out the man like James T.: “I could put planet Earth in a canister/Then continue my crater search with Captain Kirk.”
Deltron 3030 — “Battlesong” (2000)
Dan the Automator also produced “Battlesong,” which samples from the Starship — and for this one, he broke out the photon torpedos!
Digable Planets — “It’s Good to Be Here” (1993)
“Met some Klingons and got our things on,” rapped Butterfly, who comprised one-third of Nineties hip-hop space children Digable Planets alongside Doodlebug and Ladybug, on their debut album opener “It’s Good to Be Here.”
MF DOOM — “Rhymes Like Dimes” (1999)
Mysteriously masked artist MF Doom also went a bit Vulcan in the Nineties when he rhymed, “Electromagnetic field: it blocks all logic, Spock/And G-Shocks her biological clock.”
Beastie Boys — “Intergalactic” (1998)
This classic Beastie Boys anthem sure has some Vulcan Nerve: “Your knees will start shakin’ and fingers pop/Like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock.”
Madlib featuring Freddie Gibbs — “Deep” (2011)
Freddie Gibbs, a rapper from Gary, Indiana, uses the series as a potent drug metaphor: “Got a hard pack of that Star Trek/To make a bitch beam up to the Enterprise.”
Todd Rundgren & Utopia — “Star Trek” (1976)
Yet another cheeky disco cover of Alexander Courage’s original theme closes out this sequel, just as Van McCoy’s lively version opened our Pure Energy mix. Rundgren’s recording was made in the Seventies and stayed on ice for 25 years until it was released in 2001.
Tamara Palmer (she/her) is a freelance writer, editor and DJ whose first exposure to electronic sounds came from Star Trek: The Original Series. She is also the publisher of a small-batch food magazine called California Eating.