By Scott T. Sterling

Luke Cage is back, and he’s deadly serious.

The second season of the Netflix/Marvel series launches on June 22, with the release date revealed in a brief but explosive new teaser.

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In the show’s upcoming season, Cage has become a local hero in Harlem, with a growing reputation around town as a genuine superhero.

“But being so visible has only increased his need to protect the community and find the limits of who he can and can’t save,” reads the official synopsis. “With the rise of a formidable new foe, Luke is forced to confront the fine line that separates a hero from a villain.”

The explosive visuals in the clip come with an equally bombastic soundtrack, powered by a booming classic hip-hop beat and rhymes from one of hip-hop’s most influential pioneers.

The track is “I Ain’t No Joke,” the timeless 1987 hit by legendary rap duo, Eric B. & Rakim.

The sparse, minimal track courtesy of producer Eric B. set the stage for rapper Rakim to deliver his rock-hard rhymes in clear, concise fashion. Rakim’s groundbreaking lyricism on the track was augmented by the fact that he made a conscious decision to keep it clean and free of all profanity.

“I can get real crazy with rhymes, but they ain’t gonna play it all day, and that’s what’s gonna get you paid: people constantly hearin’ it on radio,” Rakim told Spin back in 1987. “I could make real stupid s— that they’ll only play on the weekend, then they’ll have to bleep half the record out! But, you know, I ain’t livin’ like that. I’m gettin’ paid, I wanna get paid.”

“I Ain’t No Joke” peaked at #38 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs the year it came out, but underground DJs made it a classic, with the track getting spins in clubs and on playlists around the world to this day.

It’s perfect timing for Luke Cage to spotlight the Eric B. & Rakim classic, as the duo has just announced that they’ll be reuniting for the group’s first full tour run in 20 years.

The jaunt kicks off April 8 in Boston, MA, with shows lined up through May 3, when the duo rocks San Francisco. See the full slate of dates via Twitter below.


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