Music geeks ahoy!
I don’t care if you don’t think you’re into Hip Hop, check this series out. Shad Kabango is a phenomenal interviewer, and the subject matter is fascinating.
I’m old enough I remember a lot, particularly of the acts and touchstones of the second season. But when I was a kid, we lived near Detroit which was still pretty firmly a Motown and Disco city. I don’t really remember a lot of rap on the Detroit stations.
But after we moved to Boise, ID of all places, MTV happened. And suddenly, a channel that was hungry for content had all kinds of videos on it. Granted, rap didn’t get wide play until the Run DMC/Aerosmith video for “Walk This Way.” After that you saw the advent of Yo, MTV Raps! in the late 80s.
Anyway, Shad does a fantastic job of tracking down the founders of hip hop, and giving a deep dive into where the music came from. The interviews with Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa are fantastic, all the interviews are, really. Each episode focuses on a scene, or in the early ones, a wave of rap/hip hop coming out of New York. Then you get into episodes about different regional sounds.
The Bay Area episode is fantastic.
Ok, all of them are. I don’t want to go too in depth, because I want you to go watch this on Netflix. And like I said, I don’t care if you don’t think you like rap or hip hop, seriously, this is some first rate music history/journalism. It does not shy away from the hard stuff, either. The racism and racial unrest in New York, and the roots that several of the performers had as kids who benefited from the Black Panthers’ social programs, these are all contributing factors to why rap sounds like it sounds.
I cannot say enough good things about this show. Whether you already like hip hop, or whether you don’t, I think you’ll enjoy this show. It’s fascinating, and Shad, like I said, is a great interviewer.
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