Our weekly ‘Hip Hop 50′ column continues, celebrating one of the most influential and impactful cultural movements of recent decades. After the most important albums in Rap history, we look at the five TV series that have most represented this world of bars, gold chains and street credibility.
Discover the 5 TV series you absolutely must see!
The Get Down is a high-speed series that overwhelms with its mix of music and documented chronicle of life in NY in the 1970s, literally catapulting the viewer into the crowded alleys of the Big Apple‘s working-class neighborhoods.
Nas’s narrative voice tells the story of some talented and ambitious young men from South Bronx, who spend their days amidst musical experimentation, graffiti and juvenile delinquency and with a big dream to fulfil: to transform the reality they live in into something epic.
They will succeed, amidst failures and disasters, to materialise that movement that will change their fortunes, influencing society for the next 50 years, called Hip Hop.
The series is also a real-life account of the life of the cultural minorities who lived in NY in the 1970s, which we are able to discover thanks to a series of scenes from television and journalistic material of the time that burst into the fiction of the show, bringing us back to the objectivity of the facts, without the poetic cinematography.
Epic is the story in images of the great blackout that hit New York between 13 and 14 July 1977: a night that unleashed a colossal chain of looting, some sources speak of 1,616 shops being stormed. Among the neighbourhood thieves, many of them dreamed of being DJs, but without mixers, turntables and consoles they couldn’t do much. That very night they managed to get their hands on the equipment they needed to realise their dream, with a good dose of hooliganism and creativity.
Also thanks to that night, as many like to think, Hip Hop was born.
In his own narrative voice, Bronx rapper Shad guides viewers on a journey that traces all the highlights of the birth and evolution of Hip Hop, through interviews and testimonies from the music genre’s key cultural figures.
Hip Hop Evolution is a sociological narrative of what the Bronx was like in the 1970s, including archive videos and photos, and in-depth analyses by music scholars, historians and industry experts.
Among the faces featured in the documentary are the ‘heroes’ of Hip Hop:
DJ Kool Herc, Coke La Rock, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Fab Five Freddy, Marley Marl, Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Moe Dee, Kurtis Blow, Doug E. Fresh, Whodini, Warp 9, DJ Hollywood, Spoonie Gee, The Sugarhill Gang and Russell Simmons.
Impeccable writing, killer casting and level-headed acting, Atlanta is the story of two cousins intent on making their way in the world of Rap, in a city where reality is often brutal and life particularly hard.
Atlanta dissects and interweaves thorny dynamics such as family values, power struggles, poverty and ethnic minorities with mastery and disenchantment.
The series showcased a Childish Gambino as an exceptional actor, and director Hiro Murai grappling with the first TV show of his career after dabbling in music videos for years; in 2017, Atlanta won two Golden Globes for Best Comedy or Musical Series and Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical Series for Gambino.
The series follows the rise of French band NTM, in a 1980s Saint-Denis.
Reign Supreme tells the story of the birth and spread of French hip-hop: an obstacle-ridden path with not a few controversies, two teenagers named Didier and Bruno give voice to an entire generation of rebels, allowing Rap made in France to become a scene appreciated worldwide.
An interweaving of lives, between artistic expressions, love and poverty that will lead the characters to realise their dream.
Empire tells the story of the Lyon family, headed by a former delinquent who became very famous in the world of Hip Hop music, Terrence Howard, who manages, by legal and other means, to build his financial empire.
The series shows a cynical and ruthless side of the hip hop industry, where the strongest always wins.
The soundtrack is anthology, written by Timbaland, an American record producer, beatmaker, rapper and songwriter.