‘The Simpsons’ to tackle hip-hop episode We’re side-eyeing this one until further notice

When FOX announced earlier this week that The Simpsons will celebrate its 600th episode with its first hourlong show — one dedicated to a hip-hop homage, no less — many were excited. The most successful television cartoon of all-time was finally turning its lens on the rap world in a significant manner. Of course, multiple rappers have appeared as themselves in the 27-year history of the program. Ludacris, 50 Cent, Cypress Hill and Sir-Mix-A-Lot to name a few.

The question is: Do we trust the show to handle this?

That’s the problem with having a largely non-hip-hop presence for most of your existence. If you decide to go all-out, not everyone is necessarily going to believe that the joke won’t be completely on us, as in, the culture. “We haven’t done a huge amount of stories in the world of hip-hop and rap culture, so we just went for it,” executive producer Matt Selman told Entertainment Weekly. Let the side-eyeing begin.

The story is set at Mr. Burns’ mansion and the story revolves around a revenge tale, in two parts. According to EW, some side components include Lisa getting a rich boyfriend (likely Drake, if you ask us) and Marge opening a high-end boutique. Selman said, “It’s kind of like a two-part rap album.” Side groan, but OK. The episode is scheduled to air in January.

Of course, the Simpson family is yellow in color, but let’s be real. They are the normative, which means in America, they’re white. That aside, the show’s history with characters “of race” isn’t the greatest. Again, we’re talking about cartoons here, but for the purposes of this discussion it’s worth making the delineation. Think about the wild stereotype that is Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. You just can’t create a character like that anymore.

And while the show has a reasonably decent history with black folks, a show entirely about hip-hop is another matter. This might be a good time to note that the show’s most regular black characters are voiced by nonblack actors. First of all, “The Great Phatsby” as the episode’s title already sounds like something straight out of 1996. To add some credibility to the project, actress Taraji P. Henson of Empire and actor Keegan-Michael Key of Key & Peele will guest star, as well.

We want this to work. We need this to work, on some level. But throwing in a couple of celebrity voices and asking music producer Jim Beanz (of Empire) to drop some original tracks doesn’t mean that this is going to work. This could be legitimately great, and we hope so. We’d hate to see the show get dragged on its big anniversary.

Shouts to Carl Carlson, though.

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