Netflix's Evolution of Hip-Hop is a must-watch

2019-10-06 00:00

The hip hop culture has worn many faces over the years boasting a plethora of styles, techniques and sounds. Phumlani S Langa marvels at the Evolution of Hip-Hop.

Evolution of Hip-Hop
Available on Netflix SA

Anything to do with hip-hop is already winning for me for the most part. But I tend to be hard on practitioners and creative projects that emerge from the culture, as I demand sheer excellence.

Netflix’s Evolution of Hip-Hop touches on US hip-hop, rap and producers in a fresh way. It includes playful cartoon sketches depicting certain pivotal scenes that were perhaps not otherwise documented and they tell the story of rap as it began at each point of the map in North America. It makes for gripping viewing and I learnt a lot.

Naturally, the east coast and west coast beef plays a big role in the story of this genre, as regionalism was everything before we started rapping for clout and retweets. Both coasts were convinced that their sound was the truth, and dominating the airwaves was one of the ways in which these factions would war with each other.

The other and more devastating form of combat was actual combat – drive-by shootings and club scuffles. In many instances, life and talent were lost.

In the episode entitled The Dirty South, we’re shown the story of the infamous Dungeon Family.

This collective spawned such influential acts as Goodie Mob (think CeeLo Green), Killer Mike, Outkast and even Future.

The Dungeon was a dingy-looking basement with wires hanging from the ceiling. You wouldn’t think that albums like Aquemini were laid down in a place like this.

What was eye-opening for me was how large the role of singer and producer Sleepy Brown is to the south.

He’s as important as Jermaine Dupri in that he was a founding member of the Dungeon Family. I always viewed him as just the Nate Dogg of Atlanta.

If you love hip-hop, sit down for this bingeworthy show and if you claim to like hip-hop but you aren’t familiar with some of the moments I just touched on, go play gqom as it’s been late for you.

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December 15 2019