Checking my email trying to find a confirmation email from my beautiful wife Amazon Prime, I see Netflix finally sent me an email that hasn't broken my heart like the new $9.99 price tag. It was informing me that the new series "The Get Down" was now available to watch. Fresh off my high of their new smash show "Stranger Things" I was ready to see something new.
Off top I see there is 6 episodes only. I LIKE THAT. I say this time and time again about shows these days. Shorten the season or break it into parts. Give the episodes meaning. 10 episodes MAX if you're not going to break it into 2 parts. Netflix shows like "House Of Cards" and "Orange Is The New Black" in my opinion suffer from not following this formula. The first 2 seasons of both of those shows it was cool to have 13 episodes. House Of Cards first 2 seasons were pure fucking gold. When it got to the 3rd and 4th seasons of both shows a lot of filler plagued those seasons. A lot of episodes were pointless and forced because they feel obligated to give you 13 episodes. The show "Better Call Saul" does this so beautifully. 10 episodes and EVERY EPISODE COUNTS, that's why it's probably the best show out. Game Of Thrones next season will be short. Probably because it cost a fucking fortune to make just 1 episode but the episode and season will pack a harder punch if it's shorten. Anyway, back to "The Get Down"
Set in the Summer of 1977 in The Bronx, The Get Down takes us on a journey of the beginning stages of hip-hop culture and the popularity of Disco music. The first episode was basically a movie. It was a hour plus. The first 30 minutes was so fast paced, random, jumbled, and fucking annoying I almost turned it off. It was so corny and the acting was really "meh." Once it settled down and paced itself a little bit the series became interesting.
The series revolves around the 3 main characters Ezekiel/Zeke (Justice Smith), Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore) and Mylene (Herizen F. Guardiola) and all of them have gifts musically that can help them escape their poverty stricken lives in the South Bronx.
Zeke is just a kid who really doesn't know what he wants to be or where he's going to end up so he just exists. Only thing he cares for initially is wanting a relationship with his friend Mylene. He is a very annoying character in the first episode. He was acting like a little bitch and doing stereotypical light skinned guy shit but after the first episode you appreciate his character a lot more and he becomes likable because now he has a purpose and he's out of his feelings. This guy was basically Drake's "Take Care" album in 1977 in human form on the first episode. Painful to watch as a man.
Mylene is a church girl with an amazing voice but has the dream of being a disco megastar singer. After carefully reviewing this young woman's age I can finally say, GOOOOOOT DAMN. They knew what they was doing putting her in them outfits throughout the series. You ever seen a pair of titties that constantly keep reappearing in your mind even when you're trying NOT to think about them? Well that's Mylene's pair. I took a break from the series to do some reading and all I could do is see them. Creep shit aside, I liked her in this series. Her goal is established immediately. She goes after it immediately. Her storyline doesn't waste time and is straight to the point. Although Mylene can be very naive at times throughout the series. I like her as a character.
Shaolin Fantastic is a kid raised in the streets just hustling and doing what he deems necessary to do what he aspires to do in life. He is a hit or miss character for me in this regard. I like him when he's calm but when he just gets all energetic he can really wear a scene down that's meant to be chill. Sometimes he can be too much. What I love about his character is his passion to gain knowledge for things he's interested in. He doesn't just want to do it, he wants to know the in's and out's of what he's interested in.
The show has it's flaws. They don't use lingo when they talk to each other. Back then was very lingo heavy. In all the films I see from that time it's like our culture talked in code. None of the characters used lingo except maybe the DJ's. Kids love to use slang so to see them not use much of it was weird. Especially in the 70's.
The rhymes that are being said in 1977 are really advanced. Rhyme patterns that weren't even thought up yet. You can tell Nas wrote probably all the lyrics for this show and as a fan of Nas's work I know his rhyme schemes. The rhymes that were being rapped in some scenes were so ahead of it's time it was unrealistic. Rap Pioneers back in 1977 were nursery rhyming. I respect all the legends don't take that as disrespect but the rhyme schemes on the show were real close to Rakim and Big Daddy Kane era instead of 1977. The rhymes were simple in 77 because hip hop was new and refreshing. People were still learning. To a person who never studied the history of hip hop like me they won't catch it but as an artist I laughed at it.
I like how all of these characters musical talents and dreams all conflict with things the adults in their lives want them to do and that's what kept me interested in the show and eager to see where in part two will they make that difficult choice of pleasing the adults in their lives or pleasing themselves. They all will have choices to make and consequences may come with them so i'll be tuned in for the future.
I like the "Kipling Brothers" Dizzee (Jaden Smith) , Boo-Boo (T.J Brown Jr), Ra-Ra (Skylan Brooks). They were great supporting characters. They fit the story, they all brought something to the table. They weren't forced. Jaden Smith acted out his tweets. Every time he spoke it sounded like one of his tweets on twitter. Not a bad thing. Jaden Smith tweets are hella important. Oh and their dad is Uncle Ice from "Paid In Full." Uncle Ice is "woke" and plays Saxophone in The Get Down now so he's not a piece of shit talking shit about his nephews at a corner store anymore.
The performances were so fucking dope especially the final one in Episode 6. Shit had me out my seat. It was really amazing regardless if you're a hip-hop junkie like me or just a casual fan. The disco performances were even crazy. I loved all of them.
I loved seeing The elements of hip-hop all over this series. Knowledge. The M.C. The DJ. The B-boy/B-girl. Graffiti. The respect that the DJ is shown was so awesome. The respect for the culture that is hip-hop. There were codes and rules to live by. Originality was praised. Biting had consequences, Physically and Mentally. The party scenes I truly envied because it is nothing like that anymore. To see Grandmaster Flash and DJ Kool Herc held in such high regard on the series was very special. We don't respect our pioneers at all today. They should still be rocking arenas worldwide but a lot of them are struggling in America but in other countries they fucking adore them. Then if one of them pass away we act like we showed them love when they were here. Shit is foul but hopefully younger viewers will watch "The Get Down" and it will inspire them to research the legends and pick up on one of the 5 elements of hip-hop. These are guys that belong in every history book in every school. Period.
Overall despite the weird start I enjoyed the first 6 episodes of this series. It felt like a long movie. It dabbled in politics, music, poverty, religion and was very fun and exciting to watch. This show was shot beautifully and visually it is fucking incredible. The story is very solid and I can't wait for part two. The Get Down didn't let me down.