Monster Magnet's "Space Lord": Is It Rock and Rap's Missing Link?
Tomorrow, stoner-rock heroes Monster Magnet come to the Music Hall of Williamsburg to play their debut album Spine of God in its entirety. As career-making as that album was, talk of looking back on the group's legacy calls to mind their biggest hit, 1998's "Space Lord." While the song has since be remembered as one of the last purely traditional rock songs of the '90s, as well as immortalized as an ironic music cue in movies like Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby, revisiting its place in history reveals the song's video to possibly be the missing link that bridged the gap for the rock-rap explosion of the late '90s.
Dave Wyndorf of Monster Magnet
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While plenty of rock-rap hybrids predate the song, namely Anthrax collaboration with Public Enemy, Biohazard's remixing an Onyx song and and the entirety of the Judgment Night soundtrack, the extra-genre crossovers were somewhat of a passing fad. Going back even further, as much as Aerosmith helped usher Run-DMC and rap as a whole into the MTV generation's collective consciousness, there wasn't a whole lot of cross-genre overlap. Even though the 90s had music festivals often slotting token rap acts as well as the first wave of post-rap rock producers and groups like Ross Robinson and KoRN incorporating elements of hip-hop production into their (not to mention Puffy signing rock band Fuzzbubble to his Bad Boy imprint in effort to expand his musical empire), the two worlds were still lacking that first visual cross-over. Enter: Monster Magnet.
Rock music wasn't as visible in 1998 as it was in previous years. Of the top 10 best selling albums over the course its 12 month span, the closest thing to an entry from the genre is the City of Angels soundtrack. For Monster Magnet lead singer Dave Wyndorf, there were no more "rock stars" in rock. As he told Vibe in November of that year, the only real rock stars he saw were in rap. While witnessing the excess of rappers in Las Vegas at the height of the shiny suit era, he penned "Space Lord." When it came time to shoot a video, he had only one stipulation: he wanted to make it a rap video in Las Vegas.