Luke Cage is only a little more than six weeks away, and when the full first season premieres on September 30, we’re going to be treated to a powerhouse of a cast. We’ve already seen Mike Colter shine in the role of Luke, when he appeared in Jessica Jones, and he will be joined by talent such as Simone Missick, Alfre Woodard and Mahershala Ali. Ali is bringing the MCU’s next villain to life by portraying Cottonmouth. Ali explained to GQ that part of his excitement over the role is that it is bringing to life something that he didn’t get to see as he was growing up.

Speaking of forthcoming roles, you play Cottonmouth in Netflix’s Luke Cage.

I’m excited about Luke Cage with Michael Colter who plays Luke Cage. I play the villain, Cottonmouth. It takes place in Harlem. It’ll just be amazing for people to get to see an African-American superhero, which there weren’t any when I was growing up.

There has been a lot of hype about the Harlem setting for this show, with show-runner Cheo Hodari Coker saying it was important that the show look, feel, and sound like the New York neighborhood where it is set. In fact, the music in Luke Cage is so important, Coker has named each episode after songs by Gang Starr. Ali said that he also has a playlist to get into the mind of Cottonmouth.

What songs are on the playlists for Remy and Cottonmouth?

For Cottonmouth I used a wide range of music because he is a musician. I also wanted to be mindful of the fact that he was from Harlem. So some of the hip-hop I used was specific to artists from uptown and the Bronx: Big L, Diamond D, Brand Nubian; as well as D’Angelo, Mobb Deep, Kanye, and Erykah Badu.

For Remy, it would change from season to season. But a staple was always Jay Z because of Jay Z’s supreme confidence and the fact that he so brilliantly embodies a show and proven ideology that informs his masculinity. Remy’s list has the likes of Rakim, Jaylib, Nas, Ghostface, Raekwon, Bilal, Gang Starr, and Black Star.

The musical influences on this show are solid, and Ali is sure to do justice to this character, as he goes up against Luke Cage on Netflix, September 30. What’s on your playlist, as you wait for the premiere?

Source: GQ.