[Series Review] The Get Down: Heavy’s Thoughts [Written by Brandon Williams

Because of their intense advertising campaign, many of you have probably see the, newly release Netflix original series, The Get Down, which portrays the birth of hip-hop in the back alleys of the Bronx, NY during the late 1970’s. The Get Down is narrated and produced by Nas and, I have to say, from both a writer and a music lover’s perspective, this show offers everything that a fan of the culture would want. It is a refreshing drama that follows a young group of boys who gets in on the ground floor of the creation of hip-hop being lead by the legendary DJ Grandmaster Flash. Without giving too much away, I would say that, if you have not already, you should definitely look at this show. Its compelling story, relatable characters, and realistic set pieces definitely capture the feeling of how it was to be young, black, and talented while being surrounded by the harsh realities of the sprawling ghettos of the 1970s. It has elements of a musical, almost like an alternative Glee, but the soundtrack is amazing, from the major plot songs to the background music, it does a good job at keeping you in the feeling of the 70’s during both the disco area as well as the hidden world of hip hop that was just beginning to emerge. For all true students of the culture, they will enjoy the show not just for the music, but for the way that the show honors the four pillars of hip hop which are; B-boying, djing, graffiti, and MC-ing. All four aspects are prominently featured and are tied to various members of the cast, showing the highs and lows in the development of each craft. One thing that I particularly find enjoyable is the fact that there is a lot of fresh young Black talent on display with very little emphasis on star power to drive the show forward.  The only issue I can actually say that I take with the show is that some of the dialogues could have been written to fit the era a bit better. They don’t do a bad job but there are some moments in conversations that sound a bit too modernized to have been casually used in the 1970s. In addition, even though I do understand the reasons for doing so, the fact that they only released 6 episodes is a bit of a downer. It refrains from ending on too much of a cliffhanger but it does leave you in anticipation of the second set of episodes that are scheduled to be released next year. All in all, The Get Down is a coming of age tale for, not only the characters in the story but, for the culture and history of Hip-hop as a whole and provides somewhat of a history lesson into how influential it was for all those who chose to make it a part of their lives.

 

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