Last night, The Simpsons observed yet another milestone in its 28-season (and counting) run: its first hourlong episode. It feels strange that the show took this long to try out that particular format (“The Simpsons Guy” doesn’t count because it was a Family Guy episode rather than a Simpsons episode, and also because it’s abject trash), but such is the plight of a nearly 30-year-old show trying to find fresh ideas, when most of the fresh ideas in modern comedy were born of that show itself in one way or another.
For “The Great Phatsby,” an episode that is at least better than its title, the show paid homage to not only The Great Gatsby, but Baz Luhrmann’s controversial, rap-tinged 2013 adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic about privilege and tragedy. And in true Simpsons fashion (at least in the later years), Matt Groening and company rolled out the red carpet for a series of hip-hop cameos, allowing a handful of talents to join the ranks of rappers like 50 Cent and Cypress Hill, who’ve been Simpsonized over the years.
With the aid of Jim Beanz (the music producer on Empire), “The Great Phatsby” got into the somewhat dicey territory of Simpsons episodes with original music, and was largely successful. So if you’re at all curious about what Snoop Dogg, RZA, and Common would sound like delivering diss verses against a Mr. Burns rival (the fictional mogul Jay G, in this case), the episode is available in full via Hulu now. Also be on the look out for cameos from Beyoncé, Flavor Flav, George Clinton, and Keegan-Michael Key, who plays a washed-up rapper called Jazzy James.
As a bonus, here’s the hip-hop version of the iconic Simpsons theme, as interpreted by Beanz: