Luke Cage's Mahershala Ali made a mixtape to help him embody villain Cottonmouth

One aspect of Luke Cage that will help set it apart from other superhero content is its music. The astute soundtrack choices for the show's trailers thus far - 'Shimmy Shimmy Ya' by Ol’ Dirty Bastard and 'Walk On By' by Isaac Hayes - already speaks to what showrunner Cheo Coker called "the Wu-Tangification of the Marvel universe". Music also had a hand in helping Mahershala Ali bring the villainous Cottonmouth to life: 

"I always make mixtapes for every character that I’m playing. Sonically, that character has a soundtrack", he told GQ. "For Cottonmouth I used a wide range of music because he is a musician. I also wanted to be mindful of the fact that he was from Harlem. So some of the hip hop I used was specific to artists from uptown and the Bronx: Big L, Diamond D, Brand Nubian; as well as D’Angelo, Mobb Deep, Kanye, and Erykah Badu. 

Those artists are certainly in keeping with the 90's Hip-hop vibe that Coker has said the show is aiming for (although I'm really hoping the series finds a good way to utilise Bobby Womack's 'Across 110th Street' too (because it's PERFECT)). In any case, if the music can help give us a better understanding of Luke Cage's characters then that will be a big triumph for the series, and I'm looking forward to hearing how its deployed.

Starring Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, Alfre Woodard, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi, Rosario Dawson, Frank Whaley, and Sônia Braga, season 1 of Marvel's Luke Cage arrives in its entirety on Netflix September 30, 2016.

Images: Marvel/Netflix

Amon Warmann

Amon is a contributing editor and columnist for Empire magazine, but is also a Film and TV writer for GamesRadar+, Total Film, and others. He has also written for NME, Composer Mag, and more, along with being a film critic for TalkSport. He is also the co-host of the Fade to Black Podcast, and a video mashup creator. Can also do a pretty good Bane impersonation.