Review: ‘The Get Down’ is getting down

Are you down with ‘The Get Down?’

Aaron Schiffman, Staff Writer

Hip hop has had a significant impact on our culture for the past several decades. When we think of hip hop, we think of rapping, but there’s even more than that. This is where the “Get Down” comes into play.

“The Get Down” is a new Netflix series created by Baz Lurhman, director of “Moulin Rouge!,” “The Great Gatsby” and “Romeo + Juliet.” Hip hop pioneers such as Grandmaster Flash and Nas serve as executive producers. The series is all about hip hop in its infancy in the 70s, and I have to say it’s a pretty good show.

“The Get Down” is a time portal back to see what hip hop was like when it was created, and what it was like for some people growing up in the slums in the Bronx. All of the characters in the show have a good representation of what it was like in the late 70s in New York City.

The main character Zeke played by Justice Smith, is a likeable lead. I liked seeing his character develop from a shy kid to a wordsmith who rocks the crowd. He’s totally relatable.

Shao, played by Shamiek Moore from 2015’s acclaimed film “Dope,” is an incredible supporting character. Shao and Zeke have amazing chemistry and some of my favorite scenes are when they’re trying to make music.

Then there’s Zeke’s love interest Mylene, played by Herizen F. Guardiola, who should get a record deal and win a Grammy someday, in my opinion. She is just phenomenal and beautiful. Her performance in the movie is also very good. The song “Set Me Free” is very catchy, and I love the scene where she records it, in the church. You really do sympathize with her as well, since she’s someone coming from a strict religious family, when all she really wants is to sing.

There are other great characters such as Mylene’s uncle, played wonderfully by Jimmy Smitts, and Dizzie played by Jaden Smith.  There’s one episode that deals with the 1977 New York blackout and it’s very engaging.

My favorite scenes in the series are when Zeke and Shao are trying to come up with their own sound with the help of Grandmaster Flash himself. It shows how hip hop got its start.

There are also a few scenes, like the very first scene in the show, which shows Zeke all grown up, performing at Madison Square Garden— with the rapping done by Nas.  Nas also serves as a narrator of the series, and his rapping is top notch as always. He provides some good storytelling throughout the series.

“The Get Down” explores various elements of hip hop culture including: rapping, DJing, breakdancing, and graffiti writing. It also has a good message on how some politicians treat minorities. It’s a must-see show.