By Brian Ives
Over the decades, the Star Trek franchise has been quite literally ahead of its time. Technology that later appeared in real life – like flip-top cellphones, flat screen TVs, iPads and Skype, were all predicted in episodes of the various Trek series (although we’re still waiting for transporters, holodecks and food reflectors to be developed).
The original Star Trek series, famously, featured the first interracial kiss on television, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine featured one of the first lesbian kisses. Notably, race and sexuality weren’t even mentioned in either of the story lines; the insinuation being that, in the future, you can kiss whoever you want and it won’t be a big deal.
And in the latest installment of the series, Star Trek: Beyond, in theaters today, a less socially significant development (albeit one that may be distressing to people of a certain age) is suggested. Namely, that hip-hop music will be referred to as “classical” music in the future.
Jaylah, the new character introduced in the film, is an alien who loves hip-hop music, including the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. Dr. “Bones” McCoy refers to this as “classical music.”
The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” is used as a plot device in the film (no spoilers here), and it’s not the first time the song has been used in Trek; in the 2009 reboot, the song is playing on the radio of the car that a young James T. Kirk steals from his stepfather.
Apparently, Kirk is a lifelong Beasties fan; in 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness, he’s seen listening to a remix of “Body Movin’.” All of which is a nice, and meta-, nod to the fact that the Beastie Boys occasionally referenced Trek in their lyrics and videos.
For more on Star Trek, check out the official Star Trek podcast, Engage, on Play.It.