Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Backseat Freestyle’ Narrates New Black Lightning Trailer

Kendrick Lamar strikes in the new Black Lightning trailer.
Kendrick Lamar strikes in the new Black Lightning trailer. Player.One

Black Lightning premieres on The CW Jan. 16 and DC has recruited Kendrick Lamar for the latest promotion. The new trailer features “Backseat Freestyle” from Lamar’s 2012 good kid, m.A.A.d city, an album many longtime K-Dot fans will argue is one of his best. It’s the same project that included “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “Swimming Pools,” “Money Trees,” and “Poetic Justice,” all songs that put the West Coast artist on the mainstream radar after he proved his lyrical capacity on his freshman debut, Section.80, a year earlier.

"Martin had a dream. Martin had a dream. Kendrick have a dream.

All my life I want money and power. Respect my mind or die from lead shower.

Even though this trailer brings out the big guns, we don’t learn to much more about Black Lighting than we already know. We get a few lines from Gambi, played by James Remar. During a conversation with Jefferson Pierce, we learn Black Lighting has been retired for nine years. It appears Gambi is the person who convinces the old hero to put back on his suit. Jefferson exclaims he can’t save the world and Gambi assures him, “You can save your piece of it.”

"I've got twenty five lighters on my dresser, yes sir.

Put fire to that ass, body cast on a stretcher.

Start up that Maserati and VROOM VROOM! I'm racing.

When Jefferson Pierce is in his plain clothes, he comes off a reserved father who is just trying to lead a normal life. In the opening sequence, we see him going on a morning jog with his daughters. But as soon as he suits up, the sass comes out. “A brother needs all the exercise he can get,” Black Lighting says in the middle of battle. It’s nice to see the series won’t lose the sharp personality creator Tony Isabella (with Trevor Von Eeden) gave him in the comic books.

The inclusion of Kendrick Lamar says a lot about what writers Salim and Mara Brock Akil and DC Comics have in mind for the series. As they emphasised at San Diego Comic Con, Black Lighting won’t shy away from issues affecting the African American and non-white community, such as police brutality and gang violence. Series stars Cress Williams and Christine Adams also expressed excitement that the series will portray the Black family in positive light, something few shows (except Queen Sugar) have done.

It will also be interesting to see if Black Lighting focuses more on the musical score and soundtrack than The CW’s other shows. As we’ve seen with Luke Cage, Mr. Robot and many others, the attention to musical details can make a show go from good to great.

Are you excited for Black Lightning’s debut? Let us know in the comments.

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