If there's one thing of which Disney wants to be absolutely certain, it's that no one will get through this day without knowing there's a new Star Wars movie. The ads are everywhere, the merchandise even moreso. You can't even get oranges without a Star Wars tie-in right now.
That's just the stuff coming out over official channels, though — the stuff of Force Fatigue. Once you get past all that, you can settle in for some of the more sincere stuff, made by folks who don't stand to make a dime off of Disney's expected $3-billion box office: In other words, the fans.
I covered some local Star Wars fan tributes a long time ago on some other blog far, far away from having readers anymore. Some of them are still at it, and countless other artists have joined in to help hype the much anticipated Episode VII — opening at midnight! — in their own ways.
To name a few, Twin Cities comedian Matthew Kessen has been posting daily lessons in Star Wars zoology to Facebook, providing insights on the lesser known creatures of the Star Wars universe; artist Leslie Barlow has been posting pics of her favorite Star Wars-inspired outfits and cosplays; and emcee See More Perspective just dropped a video for "Land of the Sandpeople," a highly polished boom-bap track that buries the needle on the shameless dorkery meter.
"While there’s no shortage of reference-dropping sci-fi-oriented rap out there, few emcees have been able to bridge an authentic love for geek culture with an authentic love for hip-hop," he says.
See More collaborated with producer Nye and fellow emcee Guante on the release, which samples the tusken raiders and other iconic Star Wars characters while See More and Guante swap punchlines and put to words what we've all been thinking about Boba Fett all along, but were afraid to say.
In response to questions about his choice to collaborate on a Star Wars boom-bap joint, See More admits that this is one of the things he's literally spent his whole life preparing to do.
On his Star Wars fandom ...
"My brother Danny (Nye) and I have been quoting the films, talking Star Wars philosophy, and fighting with lightsabers as far back as I can remember," he says, recalling how profoundly the original trilogy inspired him. "When Guante and I met so many years ago, we really related one another in hip-hop culture, boom bap, weird and ambitious art, and a lot of nerd culture, really.
"We even used to talk on tour about which characters we were, in what scenarios. So it was absolutely natural when my brother sent us a beat sampling the 'Tusken Raider Theme,'" he says. "At first it was just that it was so badass, and a little more under the radar than some of the other iconic John Williams themes."
On the deeper socio-political message that emerged ...
"As it developed though, it became about how the sandpeople were reclaiming power. We thought about how 'sandpeople' is really kind of a derogatory term, how the Tusken Raiders are portrayed as terrorists in a way, and how no one really questions that, even though we literally know nothing else about them.
"That fit into this historical narrative: Who has the power to call someone else a terrorist? I mean, a lot of my heroes were radicals fighting against the powers that be, and justly so. In Mexico, in South America, you know? Do you think Spain saw Zapata as a hero? Nope. I mean, even the forefathers here in the U.S. would have been called terrorists by England. It's that dichotomy of power and oppression. So we were feelin' the idea of coming in with this aggressive, badass energy for righteousness."
On the issue of copyrights and sampling ...
"Not to mention, my brother was really excited about how George Lucas didn't exactly want control over the Star Wars universe, as long as it didn't directly contradict anything he had already established. So Nye had to sample it. George Lucas was basically inviting people to play with all of this material in a way ... which of course has all changed since Disney reared it's ugly head."
Disney have notoriously tightened their grip around the Star Wars intellectual property like so many star systems through Tarkin's fingers, going so far as to send takedown notices to fans who post pictures of their action figures. So, in creating a derivative work, See More and company were in imminent danger of going the way of Supergenius' legendary Star Wars Breakbeats album.
"We've talked about it," he says. "We ain't afraid of the Empire. We're here to do damage on these chump Sith."
On a more serious note, he adds, "My brother's been hippin' me to the standards of fair use under copyright law, and we feel confident that if they send us a takedown notice, we know how to respond to get their permission to get it right back up. The silly superimposition of our faces over the iconic characters really helps our case."
Neither See More Perspective, his brother Nye nor his co-conspirator Guante will let any such challenge get in their way of celebrating the new film.
"I'm so excited for this," See More exclaims. "The moment I learned that the tickets were available, I scoped the earliest showing with the most seats available at my favorite theater to see a film. I then put out the word that I wanted to head out to the theater with as many people of color as possible, along with our friends who are not POC. Remember, this was right when there was all this vitriol online about black and women characters taking over the Star Wars franchise and all that nonsense."
"I'll also be showing up in a cloak with a lightsaber on my belt," says See More of his plans for tonight's early screening. "Because I'm a Jedi."