So, we accidentally binge-watched the entirety of Hip Hop Evolution Season 3.
By accidentally, I mean, we sat down to watch one episode, and then thought, “Eh, it’s early, we can do another.” Which led to, “I’m good, let’s keep going.” Which eventually turned into, “Holy shit, that was the last episode!”
For those of you who haven’t seen it or read my last review of the first two seasons, it’s a history of Hop Hip from its birth in New York City, and the early days of guys like Fab Five Freddie, Grandmaster Flash and Curtis Blow, to the end of this season with the Atlanta rap of Outkast, the Goodie Mob, and Cee-lo Green.
This season does talk to more women than the previous seasons, and talks quite a bit about Lil’Kim and some about TLC. I really wish he’d done more on a lot of them. But it is a lot better with representation of women than the previous seasons, and head and shoulders above pretty much any other documentary on Hip Hop I’ve ever seen.
This season covers the East Coast-West Coast beef, and the deaths of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. There is a lot to digest in it. I don’t want to go into a long dissertation of why that all happened, so maybe watch the show. But it will definitely broaden your understanding of what happened and why, and why it was so senselessly tragic.
Shadrach Kabango also talks about Puff Daddy and Jay-Z and where they came from, and what they did that was so revolutionary with Hip Hop. And also the underground backlash to them and their commodification of the culture. Ciphers were Hip Hop battles, that spawned several of the next generation of rap, including the Freestyle Fellowship and Eminem.
Ok, I do want to say a few things about Eminem here, because I am not a fan. I find him personally repugnant and exceedingly misogynistic. BUT, that said, I get him. I get where he’s coming from. I mean, I always had a baseline understanding, we come from similar backgrounds to an extent. But the documentary really digs deeper into the whys of him, his style and his career. So, yeah, now I really get it, but I still don’t like it. I can expound at length later, because I’m not sure if anyone cares. But a lot of the shit he raps about his ex makes more sense, and not in an “OMG, she was such a bitch way,” but more in a “Oh, I get where his creative output was shaped and how, so yeah, that he couched things in those terms makes way more sense.”
That said, still don’t care for his music. He is talented, and smart. No one who raps like he rapped in the recorded ciphers and battles is stupid. But yeah, still not a fan.
If anyone wants to talk about how rap is not music, or whatever, I challenge you to watch this show. It’s fascinating in the way that only a documentary made by someone who cares passionately about a subject can be. Shad is an excellent interviewer. He’s good at asking questions that get an in depth response. And he clicks with his subjects.
So, yeah, still highly, highly recommend all of Hip Hop Evolution. Even if you don’t like Hip Hop, I think it’s a worthwhile use of your time to watch it and learn. It is really fascinating and super well done.
If you like what you read here, or want to help fund my re-discovered Netflix addiction now that I can watch TV again, please consider donating using the link at the top right of the page: Keep Us Geeking, or checking out my Patreon. Thank you!
Also, if you’d like to see what sort of fiction I write when left to my own devices, please feel free to check out my fiction Patreon, Nothing Nice Comes Out of My Head.