What’s happenin’ party people? Meet the GetDown brothers, Ezekiel “Books” Figero, Curtis “Shaolin Fantastic” Caldwell, Ronald “Ra-Ra” Kipling, Miles “Boo-Boo” Kipling and Marcus “Dizzee” Kipling. This crew is doing something revolutionary; spinning the disco hits and switching em’ up, even freestyling over the beats. Welcome to season two of “The Get Down,” where every cool cat can get down to the groove and change the world. Comic allegory pairs with reality to form this dramatic tale of the birth of hip-hop and disco in New York City’s South Bronx on the verge of bankruptcy.
Nas narrates the show, yet also represents Ezekiel in the future, rapping his story to a massive audience. His verified commentary on the shows opening lyrics describes the reality of this situation.
“That really happened. Broken-down buildings, electricity being cut off, the city being bankrupt. People in the community would try to do whatever they could to survive. That pushed us to where we are today, so I’m thankful to people from that time period,” said Nas.
“The Get Down” is a true period piece, created by Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis, that brings the essence of the past with a post-modern style of film production that is realistic and convincing, incorporating real footage and newscasts from the 70s. Although it’s a series, each episode is a lot like a short film, 53 to 93 minutes long, and the way these big stories all blend together within an even bigger picture is captivating.
The first few episodes in the first season, which came out on Netflix in August 2016, are a bit more frosting than cake, but the flashy factor tones down a bit as things move forward. The episodic structure becomes less compromised and a deeper level of substance is later emphasised. The second season, released earlier this month, expands on the previously launched storyline, and things become more intense with the dramatic details surrounding the plot.
Mylene and Ezekiel’s relationship is further challenged by their different paths to fame while Mylene trudges through the confliction between her powerful father’s wishes and the family’s religious background on her own transition from a gospel singer to a disco queen. Drug culture and Shaolin’s role within it begins to intervene in the brothers’ performance life. All the while Ezekiel attempts to utilize his academic success, passion for writing and poetry, an internship at the World Trade Center and possibly navigate his way through an era that was categorically racially prejudice into the stuffy college scene.
The numerous obstacles faced by the brothers never seem to ease up, whether it’s the distrust and disapproval of their parents, the sly practices of Fat Annie and Cadillac who own the disco club, or a run-in with the police.
The show features an array of original music, which adds to the overall authenticity. Artists such as Miguel, 6lack, Zayn and Grandmaster Flash subtly vocalize appearances, along with the show’s stars like Jaden Smith (Dizzee), Justice Smith (Zeke) and Herizen Guardiola (Mylene). Everything is blended together so well. Old music, new music, old footage, new footage all fits and expresses an engaging and spectacular story.