Luke Cage – music by Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad

Luke CageThere’s the Marvel cinematic universe, the Marvel TV universe, and then there’s the unexpected delight that has been the Marvel Netflix universe. Okay, technically they’re all happening at the same time in the same universe, but Netflix’s Marvel shows have been a feast for those expecting their comic book heroes to be a little bit more grown up without being awash in the grimdark that drowns out most of DC’s live-action superhero films of late. Marvel’s willingness to foreground characters often thought of as second- or third-tier fare is also fun: while the Avengers are getting billion-dollar movies, these other tentacles of Marvel’s universe show us the street-level fight for justice.

And it doesn’t get much more street-level than Luke Cage. Netflix’s unexpectedly popular series was scored by Ali Shaheed Muhammad (of A Tribe Called Quest) and producer/composer Adrian Younge. The resulting combination of their score and a few contributions from other artists was quite possibly the most addictive, compulsive-repeat-listening soundtrack album of 2016. The combination of hip-hop groove, ’70s funk, and lush orchestration is infectious. Hitting “play all” again after the last track is pretty easy.

The songs peppering the soundtrack are perfect, from the quintet of tunes at the beginning of the album to “Bulletproof Love”, which drops a razor-sharp Method Man rap perfectly describing the show as a whole over that symphonic beat brew. Somewhat oddly, the show’s slinky main theme is buried halfway through the album, 4 out of 4but it’s not out of place there – the composers had a vision for the sequencing of the album, and it works just fine.

Even if you didn’t watch the show (and why not?), give Luke Cage’s soundtrack album a spin. It’s a rewarding listen the first time and the fiftieth time.

Order this CD

  1. Good Man – Raphael Saadiq (3:45)
  2. Mesmerized – Faith Evans (4:07)
  3. Ain’t It a Sin – Charles Bradley (3:50)
  4. Stop And Look (And You Have Found Love)
  5. – Adrian Younge and The Delfonics (2:46)

  6. 100 Days, 100 Nights – Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (3:43)
  7. Diamondback Arrives (2:52)
  8. Final Battle – Part 1 (1:44)
  9. In the Wind (2:22)
  10. Diamondback’s Trap (1:42)
  11. Blue Fusion (2:41)
  12. Final Battle – Part 2 (2:14)
  13. I’m Luke Cage (1:17)
  14. Street Cleaning (1:38)
  15. The Ambush (2:05)
  16. End Theme (1:41)
  17. Coffee at Midnight (1:31)
  18. Red-Handedly Blameless (2:57)
  19. Always Forward Pops (1:19)
  20. Unveil the Bride (1:46)
  21. Shameek’s Death (2:19)
  22. The Plan (1:48)
  23. Requiem for Phife (3:43)
  24. We Had Coffee (0:55)
  25. Pops Is Gone (2:48)
  26. Theme (1:09)
  27. Greed Becomes Me (0:35)
  28. Bulletproof Love featuring Method Man (2:12)
  29. Microphone Check Five’O (0:56)
  30. Luke’s Freedom (4:52)
  31. Uptown Claire (0:43)
  32. Shades Beware (0:44)
  33. Misty Resolute (1:28)
  34. Fresh Air (1:24)
  35. Kinda Strong (0:37)
  36. Big Man Little Jacket (1:06)
  37. Scarfe’s Dying (2:17)
  38. Claire’s Wisdom (1:13)
  39. Gun Threat (2:40)
  40. Bad Love (1:16)
  41. Finding Chico (1:22)
  42. I Am Carl Lucas (1:04)
  43. Crispus Attucks (0:47)
  44. Hideout (2:22)
  45. Cuban Coffee (0:44)
  46. Like a Brother (1:24)
  47. Cottonmouth’s Clamp (1:38)
  48. Survival (1:01)
  49. Cottonmouth Theme (0:19)
  50. Luke Cops (1:12)
  51. Crushin’ On Reva (1:07)
  52. Beloved Reva (1:24)

Released by: Hollywood Records
Release date: Octover 7, 2016
Total running time: 1:20:47