Netflix and Spill: Hip Hop Evolution

When turntables were made into an instrument…”

We have become so accustomed to hip hop on our car stereos, in our parties and on the news that it is hard to imagine that this music art form is still relatively new. Movies like Straight Outta Compton and Notorious B.I.G detail the personal biopics of individual rappers and their stories but rarely do we see the history of hip hop as a whole.

Yet over the 30 year history, it took the courage of innovators and risk takers to rise from the underground of the Bronx to the mainstream stadium show sellouts that we see today.

For anyone who says that it isn’t music, or that they just rip off the sounds of other artists, you will be introduced to techniques like cutting, crabbing, flaring and scratching. More than just mixing words to prerecorded beats, the MCs were the original DJs at parties and their showmanship and charm is truly mesmerising.

My personal favourite,  Grandmaster Flash of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five details how he broke taboo by actually touching the vinyl record to “cut” to sections of the beat. We also see how small artists who manually made their own tapes provided inspiration to the stars whose hands they happened to fall into. *Cough* Ice Cube, Dr Dre…

It’s incredibly entertaining watching rare archived footage of rappers spitting tunes at parties, engaging in epic rap battles or even simply becoming aware of the power that their message held to many outside of their own hometowns.

Be prepared for the confrontation of raw topics such as poverty and racial tensions between law enforcement, as well as the domestic pressures that (unsuccessfully) tried to prevent youth getting a hold of these controversial records. HHE does not gloss over these topics but nor does it glamorise it either.

Hip Hop Evolution has it all – the rivalry between the East and West Coast, the beginning of gangsta rap, and even the crossovers into other genres like rock and pop that gave it the legitimacy it craved.

Verdict: This series really is dope.

A Netflix Original Series.