My favorite music genre has been hip hop for years. Since I started listening at the beginning of the nineties I’ve read a lot about it and seen various documentaries (with a lot of them of pretty bad quality). So I’m not afraid to admit that I know quite a bit about it. When this documentary series showed up on Netflix I was curious if it would have to offer something I didn’t know yet.
During four episodes rapper Shad Kabango visits various colleagues and DJ’s to talk about the evolution of the genre. Kurtis Blow, Big Daddy Kane, Afrika Bambaataa, Chuck D, Grandmaster Caz, Ice-T, Kool Herc, Melle Mel, Master Gee and Marley Marl are just a few of the artists who talk about their experiences. Each episode focusses on a specific part of history. The first episode, The Foundation, is about the first use of breaks from disco songs during the seventies, which were used during parties held in the South Bronx. In The Underground to the Mainstream you see how hip hop started becoming bigger and how the Sugarhill Gang had a hit with Rapper’s Delight. A well-known song, but also a controversial one. In the episode after that Kabango takes a look at the formation of Def Jam and how the subject matter also evolved as shown by Public Enemy, who really used their music to get a message across. THe last episode deals with the birth of West coast gangsta rap and artists like Ice-T and N.W.A.
The Evolution of Hip Hop is an excellent show, which taught me some things I didn’t know yet. But even if you don’t have the same background, this is a very good history lesson, told by the people who made history. I hope there will be a second season because if you are a hip hop fan, this is a must see.