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The Hub’s Entertainment Watch List: The Evolution of Hip-Hop
With all eyes on hip-hop as the community mourns the loss of Migos rapper, Takeoff, now is a good time to learn how the genre evolved into what it is now. Hip-Hop Evolution is a four-season series on Netflix and although it was released in 2016, the show has maintained its relevance over the years.
The series is hosted by rapper and broadcaster, Shadrach “Shad” Kabango. Throughout the show, viewers are able to see Shad sit down with some of the history-makers, game-changers and innovators within the hip-hop genre. Viewers can expect interviews with influential MCs, DJs and moguls as the series traces the genre’s evolution from the 1970s through the ’00s.
Hip-Hop typically sets the tone for the world’s culture – what’s hot and what’s not, trends in clothing, etc. However, the documentary series shows that the genre did not start out that way, in fact, it was the opposite as many people did not think “hip-hop” would become as popular as it did.
Season one provides viewers with an overview of the foundation by speaking with people who are considered the founders of rap and hip-hop. Shad speaks with artists including DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash and more. From the foundation, it touches on early hip-hop “stars” and also touches on the birth of “gangster rap.”
Season two expands on the genre showing how it traveled to the south and those artists put their own spin on it. It highlights the phases hip-hop has gone through by noting a shift to knowledge or “conscious” rap which was more serious and designed to send a message to the Black community. Season two ends back in New York putting a spotlight on the state as that is where it all began.
Season three dives into what many of us know today as hip-hop. This season touches on the infamous East coast vs. West coast beef and the deaths of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. as well as alternative rap and how Atlanta became a hotspot for budding talent. Some viewers may see this season as a spotlight on hip-hop in its prime.
The final season of the series brings everything together to show how hip-hop had evolved over the last few decades. Season four starts out in New Orleans tapping into the bounce scene and also includes interviews from popular artists including Master P, Juvenile and Mannie Fresh. This season even explores the chopped and screwed sound, “superproducers,” as well as the rise and fall of mixtapes.
Hip-Hop Evolution is the recipient of a Peabody Award and an International Emmy. Anyone who enjoys listening to hip-hop music should check out the documentary to learn the origin story behind the genre. Viewers are sure to have takeaways after watching the series.