When it comes to street cred, Star Trek is at the bottom of the heap. Society still thinks of its fans (or ‘Trekkies”) as emotionally stunted basement dwellers attending sci-fi conventions in full Starfleet uniform. Yet this portrayal of Spock ears and suburban whiteness is not only out-of-date, it ignores the show’s biggest patrons: old-school hip-hop.
That’s right. Just like Voltron, Star Trek has infiltrated the lyrics of all your favourite rappers, such as…
Public Enemy – Give It Up
In the video for their 1994 song “Give It Up”, a claymation Public Enemy look down on the society of Earth from a starship with a very familiar Bridge section. This wouldn’t be the last time they crossed paths with Trek – years later “Fight the Power” would appear in Star Trek Beyond (just as Chuck D and DJ Lord make a comeback as part of Prophets of Rage).
Redman doesn’t have any one song full of phasers or Klingon references, but almost all of his songs feature a shout-out to the Enterprise’s most logical crew member. In fact, Redman has his own alter-ego called Funk Doctor Spock. He’s not the only one to fixate on the Vulcan though…
Digable Planets – It’s Good To Be Here
90s hip-hop group Digable Planets have a whole verse on the first song of their debut album -fittingly titled Reachin’ (A New Refutation Of Time And Space) – dedicated to flying through space with Jimi Hendrix. It includes lines such as:
“Met some Klingons, and got our things on / Cruisin’ warp 6 with Mr. Wiggles in the mix”
Later, they’re “Droppin like a comet and this Vulcan tried to Spock it” – how does he keep cropping up?
MF Doom – The Drop
Okay, so a Star Trek reference isn’t so surprising from MF Doom – his entire identity is built on comic books and old school sci-fi movies. However, on his Vaudeville Villain album he takes the tribute to the next level,
“Ensign, he shoulda asked his upperclassmen / Before he bust blast ’em, never trust no Cardassian / Captain’s log supplemental / The Klingons are now aboard the Enterprise rental vessel”
Dr Octagon – Perfect World
The Return of Dr Octagon was a controversial album – it revived Kool Keith‘s alter-ego but, due to behind-the-scenes drama with the producer, the final product fell short of what many fans were expecting. However, it did give us this verse:
“From Costa Rica to Boston / Brutal combat, I bomb back, work on your body, and watch / Star Trek”
However, The Beastie Boys are by far the biggest Trekkies in the scene. Everybody remembers catching the video for “Ch-Check It Out” – or at least those first few seconds where they all beam in wearing retro uniforms. They also referenced the series in “Intergalactic” and “Brouhaha”:
“Communicator check one two one two / This is Bones McCoy on a line to Sulu / Set the bullshit to warp factor one / Check your tricorder set your phaser to stun”