The credits rolled on the final episode of one series but before we had time to lament or even consider what the next joint entertainment venture would be, the first episode of another Netflix original began to play. This one, chosen for us, is best described as a happy coincidence. You see, I’m a proud 80’s baby – born right smack in the middle of that decade’s opening year – and my husband debuted a few years earlier in 1975. We were immediately captivated by opening scenes from the crumbling 70’s era of New York which was narrated by a mysterious MC whose lyrics set the tone for that time period as well as the story-line. This was The Get Down – and we were totally up for it.
The rapper’s likeness was unfamiliar but not his voice. When you’re of the generation who championed this creative movement, you recognize the voice of Nasir Jones when you hear it. Not only is the Queensbridge native an executive producer of the show , he is also the voice of Ezekiel Figuero, a main character who rap-narrates the series. His adult rapping voice is flawlessly dubbed by the Hip Hop artist. Infused with a little bit of disco, the first episode features music from Donna Summer, Earth Wind & Fire and Grand Master Flash (played by Mamoudou Athie). From the music to the wardrobe consisting of bell bottom pants, wing tipped shoes, butterfly collared shirts, Pumas and gold shimmered, cut out dresses, the show is a beacon of authenticity. And it should be. According to Allhiphop.com, rap legends Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow and Nas hosted a Hip-Hop boot camp to educate the young actors on the craft they were chosen to bring to life. The cinematography is reminiscent of everything you’ve ever seen and heard about the seventies. The show takes you there – to the place and the very moments that have become known as the birth of Hip Hop.
Described as a musical drama television series set in the South Bronx in the late 1970s, The Get Down was created by Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis. It chronicles the creative aspirations of a group of teens who express themselves through music, art, love and perhaps most importantly, their quest to survive. It’s estimated that Netflix invested $120 million – its largest spend yet – on producing the series and skeptics are already questioning whether the docuseries will live up to its hefty price tag. It does. But, don’t take my word for it. If you have an affinity for Hip Hop – whether you’re moved by the genre, interested in learning its history or privileged enough to have been born on the cusp of this cultural phenomenon – watch it. Sign up to Netflix, log on and watch it. You won’t be disappointed.