When Netflix dropped the first part of The Get Down, I added it to “My List” like every self-proclaimed Hip-Hop fan. After trooping through the good old binge- watch weekend, I walked away feeling filled with pride for the culture I represent and love.
The show was not only a lesson in the origins of Hip-Hop music, but it also touched on a number of issues that plagued late 1970’s New York City. The style, the music, and the messages jumped off the screen like graffiti art come to life.
Part 2 of The Get Down went live this past Friday on Netflix.
Many who were captured by the first installment wondered if it would meet expectations or fall short of capturing the magic of the first go-round?
Let me be clear, The Get Down is still dope, but it’s a little different this time.
It’s been a year since The Get Down Brothers and Mylene & The Soul Madonnas got their breaks in music. Both groups have made their marks, but the struggles continues. And I do mean struggles.
I won’t spoil anything, but part two of this inner city version of Glee contains way more drama. The musical numbers are there. The Hip Hop history is there also, but both have somewhat become background players compared to the overall character development. I think that’s what I enjoyed most.
Part one of the series focused more on telling the origins, feel, flavor, essence and background of Hip Hop and the slow death of disco. I feel like I cared a little more about the characters this time.
The theme is “Set Yourself Free”. Whereas part one had me anticipating Hip Hop easter eggs, part two has that “what will happen to our heroes next” vibe. That’s not an easy thing to do with a story whose main character was the music.
The obstacles that faced our favorite team of dope rhyme-sayers ranged from drugs, the police, Ivy League pricks, and Hip Hop-hater Cadillac. Mylene, the gospel/disco, princess has to now deal with big, bad record industry politics, which can be just as brutal as any of those other antagonists.
It’s not all drama. The music numbers are still dope as hell. I did feel like Mylene got a little more shine than The Get Down Brothers. I get it. If you follow the real world timeline, disco will be dead soon and Hip Hop will eventually become more mainstream. Let Mylene & The Soul Madonnas live.
There are a couple of things I hope they adjust for part three. The fake grown man version of “Ezekiel” with the Nas voice. Why not slap a goatee on the actor that plays the younger version of “Books”? I wouldn’t complain. The shadowy rapper figure should not transfer over to the next edition of The Get Down.
Then there are times where The Get Down Brother’s rhyming styles sound more like they are rapping in the 1990’s. It varies from performance to performance, but I could tell instantly. The same goes for a song Mylene performs in a nightclub. The record sounded more like a new Katy Perry record than a disco track from 1978.
Nitpicking aside, I really enjoyed this more “dramatic” version of The Get Down. From the display of Hip-Hop unity in the community, to the harsh coming-of-age tale, it all adds up to a natural progression for a series that continues to impress and charm us.