The Get Down Part 2 Netflix Series Review – Why It’s Great For Hip Hop Fans
A mythic saga of dreams, desire, soul and sound, The Get Down chronicles the epic musical evolution from disco to hip hop that defined 1970s New York City – as told by the relationships, struggles, triumphs, and artistry of the South Bronx teens who saw it through. Now streaming on Netflix.
Buy The Get Down Soundtrack (Part 1 & Part 2)
The Get Down – Part II Official Trailer [HD] (Netflix)
For those who love Hip Hop, disco, music, dancing and history of how it all evolved, I highly recommend The Get Down. Part 1, consisting of 6 episodes, was released exclusively on Netflix in mid-2016 and Part was just released with 5 episodes to close the season out.
While Part 1 was setting the scene of the main ‘symbolic’ lead characters as high-schoolers finding their way in life through their shared passions, The Get Down Part 2 shows their next stage after achieving the initial level of success they aimed for, during the transition of the disco era to the Hip Hop generation.
What I Didn’t Like
Old mate Baz is distancing himself from the project as he believes it will be in more capable hands of someone closer to the source material, which is a commendable thing to do. I thank you Baz, for bringing this project to life.
Perhaps then we’ll have a more coherent visual for the next season and more of the rawness that Hip Hop saw in its birthing stages.
A Few “WTF Is Going On?” Moments
It’s sometimes dizzying in its visual storytelling with the archival footage interweaving through the scenes, flash forwards to what looks like a post-2000s concert at Madison Square Garden where the narrator delivers his parts and then more confusion with the introduction of comic-book animation in The Get Down Part 2. I wasn’t a fan at all of how jittery the experience felt and no doubt it had to do with budget and time restrictions, especially where the animation was concerned.
What Era Is This?
I’m a huge fan of the disco era but the grand finale performance “Toy Box” felt like a Beyonce meets Britney mash up in the late 2000s. Sure, when Sia writes a song it’s 95% going to be a hit but it was a miss in the context of the show and I was pretty disappointed with it.
What I Liked
The kaleidoscope of costumes and movements in dance sequences to the profound poetic soliloquies and the history of one of today’s biggest cultural influences, Hip Hop, are all great reasons to watch The Get Down.
Here is what I appreciated about the series:
The Story Draws Upon Extensive Historical Research
While Baz Luhrmann created the concept of The Get Down 10 years prior to it being realised by Netflix, he did a massive amount of in-depth research to make sure he was being true to the era. His involvement of some of the most prominent figures of Hip Hop both in the contemporary and founding generations makes me really respect his approach as an outsider looking-in to such a pivotal part of my generation.
Nas gives his input as an Executive Producer and Grandmaster Flash is credited as an Associate Producer and gives great insight into the history that made up parts of the show, as a key founding figure in turntablism / DJing as we know it today.
The Visuals Are Incredible
No doubt when Bazzy and his wife Catherine Martin, an Oscar-winning costume designer, team up, you’d expect nothing less than a dazzling display of by-gone eras in elaborate parties swathed in all kinds of blitz and glamour.
Martin gave a fantastic homage to the disco scene and 70s New York fashion, transitioning into the street swagger that would be synonymous with the early years of Hip Hop.
The Rhymes Are Profound
Justice Smith, who plays lead character “Books” delivered a heartfelt spoken word scene in the first part of the series and we get to hear more of it in the second part. It takes you back to the roots of rap as we know it, back when it was about the struggles of a broken-down minority living in the free world but feeling imprisoned in so many ways.
Here’s My Favourite Scene From The Get Down Part 1
When rhymes were filled with so much emotion, and substance prior to its bastardisation and commercialisation, like how disco faded away (or went back underground) from its overtly sexual tones to give way to a new era that represented an oppressed group.
So perhaps then history repeats itself and Hip Hop’s fate is close to that of a genre surpassed (but surviving thanks to modern poets staying relevant and in the mainstream like Kendrick Lamar and Drake). The Get Down is a great way to revitalise the raw passion in today’s kids.
The Music Is Nostalgic, Though The Dance Sequences Are Short-Lived
As a hip hop dancer for over a decade and having dated a bboy for 6 years during that time, it was exciting to get a few snippets of familiar and loved scenes where dancers freestyled and battled. There was a great balance of all the Hip Hop elements (dance, music, DJing, emceeing) throughout the show but maybe not as much as we would have liked.
I had goosebumps every time I saw a cipher or soul-train, especially with the rocking battles that get the majority of the crowd involved. I am surprised there weren’t more rap battles but perhaps that’s to come later. For now, I’ll leave you with my favourite scene from the series.
Here’s My Favourite Scene From The Get Down Part 2
Les Inferno Battle: The Get Down Brothers vs. Cadillac (Hip Hop vs Disco)
Buy The Get Down Soundtrack (Part 1 & Part 2)