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Futurama Featured More Legendary Musicians Than You Probably Remember

"Futurama" continues to remain a beloved fixture of adult animated television, and for good reason. Debuting in 1999, the show focused on the exploits of a planetary delivery crew in the year 3000. The show would run until 2013 and is set for a revival in 2023, hopping between various networks during its time. Its colorful assortment of characters and hilarious lampooning of modern-day culture in a futuristic setting have helped make the sci-fi animated sitcom a fan-favorite show.

It would make sense that a show this acclaimed and this popular would attract its fair share of guest stars from all walks of life. From Lucy Liu to the cast of "Star Trek" to even Stephen Hawking, it seems as though everyone wanted a piece of that futuristic pie. It comes as no surprise that among that mix of celebrities, various musicians lent their voices and likenesses to the beloved sitcom. Who were they? Who did they play? Crack open a can of slurm and let's dive in. 

The gang got Beastie with Mike D & Ad-Rock

The series starts off strong with its musical guests. Season 1, Episode 9, "Hell is Other Robots" features Mike D and Ad-Rock (Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz), two of the three members of the rap group, The Beastie Boys. They were among one of the most enduring rap acts, with their first album, 1986's "Licensed to Ill," staying at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 for seven weeks straight.

The Beastie Boys start their respective episode, now as preserved heads in jars (a concept used by the show to work in celebrity cameos and historical figures). Fry, Bender, and Leela attend one of their concerts, with Fry particularly excited to finally attend the show. They get the opportunity to meet them backstage where Fry tells them that he had all five of their albums back in 1999. They respond by saying, "That was a thousand years ago –- now we have seven."

Sadly, this prediction isn't too far off. With band member Adam Yauch, aka MCA, dying of cancer in 2012, the Beastie Boys would disband, as originally reported by GQ (via ABC News). They would only release eight albums in total, the last of which being their 2011 album "Hot Sauce Committee Part Two."

Bender vs. Beck

Beck is a musician best known for his experimental mix of varying styles and music genres. His 14 studio albums encompass everything from folk to hip-hop to alternative rock to electronic to country and more. The work of the acclaimed artist has ranked among Rolling Stone's 500 best albums of all time.

Beck would take a step into the weird and wacky world of "Futurama" in Season 3, Episode 13, "Bendin' in the Wind." The episode sees Bender, after a freak accident, choose to pursue his dreams of becoming a folk singer with help from Beck, who he meets at the hospital. Bender plays various shows, but gets nothing but disdain from his audience and eventually gives up on the dream.

It's a nice change of pace to have one of the guest stars provide an extended role on the show as opposed to a brief cameo. And the episode takes advantage of this premise, poking fun at both Beck's musical style and the culture surrounding music fans in the show's trademark lovingly satirical manner ("come on, move it — we got to get to the concert and make the audience wait for it to start"). As an added treat, Beck performs two of his own songs, "Sexx Laws" and "Where It's At."

Make way for Judge Snoop Doggy Dogg

If you're going to end something big, then it calls for some big guest stars. So it would only make sense that the 2009 "Futurama" film, "Into the Green Yonder," which was intended to be the finale of the series before being revived by Comedy Central (via The Hollywood Reporter) would feature some notable names. These include the likes of Seth MacFarlane, Penn and Teller, and none other than famous rapper Snoop Dogg himself. The special sees Leela and Amy join a female environmentalist group that aims to save Mars' environment. After a series of crimes, they are caught by the police and put on trial.

The trial is led by Snoop, who gives the women an unfair verdict based on discriminatory gender practices that see their female members only be counted as half a vote. The team is set for 50 years in prison until Bender later helps break them out. Snoop steals the show in this scene, his effortless swagger and laid=back voice working itself in nicely with the comedy. The show, of course, pokes plenty of fun at his quirky sayings and comedic mannerisms to craft a simply funny scene that makes the most of what it has.

Nothing's cooler than Coolio

While cameos and extended appearances are lots of fun to see, what if one of these musicians played a recurring character on the show? That's exactly the case with rapper Coolio, who would play Kwanzaabot in three instances. His appearances usually involve Kwanzaabot having to explain the concept of Kwanzaa through some means. In his first episode, "A Tale of Two Santas" (Season 4, Episode 2), Bender comes across Kwanzaabot while flying a sleigh. Kwanzaabot admits to being annoyed that he's had to hand out "What the Hell is Kwanzaa?" books for 647 years.

The artist, known for his hit songs such as "Gangsta's Paradise" and "Fantastic Voyage," is given ample room to show off his rapping capabilities as well. In the film, "Bender's Big Score," he performs alongside the show's other two holiday symbols, Robot Santa Claus and Chanukah Zombie. The anthology episode, "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular" (Season 7, Episode 13) features an entire segment on Kwanzaa where the robot bursts into Hermes' home, Kool-Aid Man-style. He proceeds to inform the rest of the Futurama gang about what Kwanzaa means through another rap. The character of Kwanzaabot further allows the show to poke fun at our culture, and Coolio's talents help elevate the already fun addition to the eccentric cast.