The Star Wars Gangsta Rap started out audio only, produced by Bentframe. It was written by Jason Brannon and Chris Crawford, with vocals by Jason Brannon, drum machine by Chris Crawford and keyboard by Brian Leonard.
Animator Thomas Lee discovered the rap in 2000 and used it as a basis to practice his developing Flash skills. After showing the results to Bentframe, they together formed BentTV. This became the first (and most widely seen) version of the video.
Due to the project's success, BentTV created a much improved version, referred to as the Special Edition. The audio is the same, but the animation, which in the original version was somewhat pedestrian and sketchy, has been completely redrawn with improved color and shading, smoother lines, and more detailed motion, all while emulating the relevant scenes in the movies much more closely and adding more scenes. The improvement in animation is clearly analogous to Industrial Light & Magic's 1997 Special Edition film touch-ups.
(This description corresponds to the original version.)
The Star Wars Gangsta Rap loosely mixes the plotlines of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back (and Return of the Jedi in the Special Edition), satirically recreating several of the more famous scenes and dialogue.
The Star Wars Gangsta Rap is played in the style of venerable rap group The Beastie Boys. It is quite similar to a typical Beastie Boys track in its backing instrumentation, the method in which the characters trade off lines, and the exact styling of the rap.
The music video starts out with the back of the Star Destroyer. Emperor Palpatine's image appears and says, "It's not the east or the west side", to which Darth Vader's image replies, "No, it's not". This continues for a few lines, until the Emperor finally declares, "It's the Dark Side!" The Emperor then threatens to blow up the planets of "all you Vader haters out there."
This leads into the first main verse, with Darth Vader and the Emperor trading off raps to each other about how to deal with Luke Skywalker. Darth Vader finally says, "He will join us or die. WE'VE GOT DEATH STAR!" Images of the Death Star flash in the background, and the line is repeated by Stormtroopers, who do a gangster rap wave in the background.
The next verse begins in Luke's moisture farm on Tatooine, with his uncle Owen Lars shouting commands at him. Luke begins to rap the second main verse, with C-3PO and R2-D2 appearing in the background for "I cleaned the droids."
The 3rd verse break is Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Luke in spirit, "Luke, use the Force and run..." Luke is seen in his X-wing fighter on the way to Dagobah. Yoda appears next and raps to Luke until the last line when he lifts the X-wing.
Then there is another verse with Luke and Yoda trading off raps. Luke gets on his X-wing, and during a brief intermission we find him enjoying some "mighty good gin an' tonic" before he flies to Cloud City and confronts Darth Vader. Darth Vader and Luke engage in a lightsaber duel. Vader cuts off Luke's hand, then reveals that he is his father.
The final verse is Han Solo appearing in the background repeating, "Knock him out the box, Luke, knock him out!", a reference to the 1988 Slick Rick song, "Children's Story".
- Moradmin Bast*
- Owen Lars
- Leia Organa*
- Darth Sidious
- Anakin Skywalker*
- Luke Skywalker
- Han Solo
- Darth Vader
- Raymus Antilles*
- Scout troopers*
- Wilhuff Tarkin*
- Obi-Wan Kenobi
- Nerf (Mentioned only)
Ships and VehiclesEdit
*Only in Special Edition
- Emperor: It's not the east or the west side...
- Vader: No, it's not!
- Emperor: It's not the north, nor the south side...
- Vader: No, it's not!
- Emperor: It's the dark side...
- Vader: You are correct!
- Emperor: Keep frontin' The Empire, to all you Vader haters out there, we'll blow your planet up!
- Vader: What is thy bidding, my master?
- Emperor: It's a disaster. Skywalker, we're after.
- Vader: What if he could be turned to the Dark Side...?
- Emperor: Yes! He'd be a powerful ally! Another Dark Jedi...
- Vader: He will join us or die. WE GOT DEATH STAR! (repeat 7 times)
- Palpatine : Yeah, we got Death Star! (repeat 7 times)
- Vader: Men, you know that we've got it...
Palpatine : DEATH STAR!
Vader : Men, you know that we've got it! Death Star!
- Uncle Owen: Luke! Get 'yo ass over here right now. Stop monkeying around with that dead landspeeder. And where are them two droids I asked you to clean, boy? Did you clean your room?!
- Luke: Uncle Owen, I know I'm on probation. I cleaned the droids, can I go to The Tosche Station? I gotta lay away on the power converters, but now 'yo treating me like a scruffy, nerf herder.
- Ghost Ben: Luke, use The Force and run... run to Dagobah, run to Dagobah. (repeat once)
- Yoda: I'm Yoda, I'm a soldja, I mold ya then, fold ya, I thought I told ya! Don't be unwise, judge me not by my size. You won't believe your eyes, once the X-wing rise.
- Luke: Yoda... why 'yo being a playa hata? You know that I still must confront Lord Vada'.
- Yoda: But, Luke, not ready are you...
- Luke: But there's a city in the clouds where they're keepin' my crew. A Jedi's gotta do, what a Jedi's gotta do, so now Vader, I'm comin' for you!
- Luke: Yeah, that's right Artoo, I've just set a new course. I'm goin' to Cloud City. (drinks alcoholic beverage) Ah. That's some mighty good gin and tonic, you should you mix me up another. (Thing's about to get ugly.)*
- Vader: Impressive, now release 'yo anger! You must have sensed that 'yo friends were in danger.
- Luke: ohhhh! Why'd you slice off my hand?!
- Vader: It's an imperative that you understand! Obi-Wan would never bother... to tell-ah you about your fatha'.
- Luke: He's told me enough, he told me you killed him!
- Vader: Then, there's something I must reveal, that I'm 'yo father, I'm your father (repeat 3 times).
- Han Solo (bonus edition)/Rebel Hero (original mix): Knock 'em out the box, Luke, knock 'em out! (repeat 4 times) Knock him out the box, Luke.
- *This line can be heard in the original mp3, but does not appear in the Flash videos.
The Star Wars Gangsta Rap is one of the most popular flash videos of all time.[source?] Accordingly, it was awarded the Audience Choice at the 2002 Star Wars Fan Film Awards. Additionally, BentTV created a second Star Wars parody cartoon during Christmas Season 2004 which was released on newgrounds.com, a fake advertisement for the "Star Wars Christmas" CD hosted by Han Solo.
It spawned two sequels, the first, more common Star Wars Gangsta Rap 2 which is profanity-laced and explicit, poking fun at several characters from the original trilogy as well as Jar-Jar Binks, involving Stormtroopers going on strike at an Imperial base. It's exact origin is unknown. In November 2009, Star Wars Gangsta Rap Chronicles was released, which was billed by BentTV as the 'true' sequel, featuring solos by Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, a Storm Trooper, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, Obi-Wan Kenobi, C-3PO, Jabba the Hutt and Yoda. Again, it features a myriad of scenes from the original trilogy, with no references made to the prequels (aside a line by Obi-Wan.)
Director Thomas Lee went on to animate the video for "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "I'll Sue Ya" on his album "Straight Outta Lynwood" (2006).
A similar rap video is shown instead of the usual bloopers on an Easter Egg on the Episode III DVD with Yoda rapping and breakdancing in front of Stormtroopers. He then comments after this, "That voice... hard on my throat."
It has inspired other similar works and imitations, notably "The Lord Of The Rhymes", done very much in the style of the Star Wars Gangsta Rap but instead parodying The Lord of the Rings.
The video game "The Operative: No One Lives Forever" (released in 2000) had an encoded message that decrypted to "Knock em out the box Luke" in reference to the Star Wars Gansta Rap.
- Star Wars Gangsta Rap: Chronicles
- Award-winning original version
- Special Edition version
- Star Wars Christmas CD, a new cartoon by Bentframe about Star Wars
- August 2004 Newgrounds interview with animator Thomas Lee
- The Star Wars Fan Film Awards
- An independent download site featuring both Raps and other Star Wars fan songs