What is the Get Down?

I asked myself that question when I first heard of the show. I thought is it a reality TV show or a TV movie and at several points during the first trailer I saw, the main character kept saying you don’t know what the Get Down is? I’m like no I don’t!. Of course the show is partly narrated and executive produced by my favourite rapper (Mr. Nasir Jones) so I had to check it out.

I loved the first 6 episode installment but I hadn’t started this blog at the time so I waited for the next installment of season 1 before writing a review. The second batch of 5 episodes were released after some delay on Friday. The show is really about a group of 5 guys who have formed a hip hop group. I say 5 but it’s really about 2 of them. Shao is the DJ and back in the 70’s, the DJ was an instrumental part of any hip hop group. Shao is also the person who put the group together. He sells drugs on the side and helps finance their measly start-up operation. For me, Zeke is the main character. He’s half black, half Puerto Rican and he’s the lead wordsmith for the group. The group is rounded up by 3 other guys one of which is Jaden Smith who I am impressed with because he plays his part and doesn’t try to overdo his acting.

On the other side you have Mylene and the Soul Madonnas. After much toing and froing, Mylene and Zeke started dating towards the end of the first part. Mylene is a gifted singer who’s dad wants her to remain in church but her uncle introduces her to a crack head song writer and somehow she has s single on the radio that’s blowing up the airwaves. When the first part rounded up, Mylene and her group were on the come up, the Get Down brothers won a rap competition, Zeke (who’s also book smart) managed to hold down an internship position in Manhattan. It was sort of the perfect storm so I wondered where the show would go from there.

the getdown brothers
The Get Down Brothers

I had a busy weekend so I only managed to catch one of the five new episodes. Now, the stakes are higher. Zeke still has his job and the Get Down brothers are actually getting paid to perform! Shao has sold drugs well enough that his drug dealing boss has now given him a run down dump of a warehouse to transform into a club where the Get Down brothers will be the house band of sorts. As for Mylene, she’s a rising star and appears on TV but she says she’s single which Zeke doesn’t find funny.

Right away, you can see the strain in the relationship between Zeke and Mylene and I can make a few bold predictions. Zeke and Mylene will go their separate ways. Zeke just spends wants to spend time with Mylene who’s being pulled in 5 different directions and you can see that she’s being treated like a commodity by her management, her dad expects her to remember her commitment to the church, her friends want her to use her fame like any kid would, Zeke just wants his girlfriend around and no one seems to care what Mylene wants. Except for this one manager guy who I have my eye on. I bet he starts cheating on his wife with Mylene by episode 7. Meanwhile Zeke has gotten himself into a pickle. His Boss’ daughter has a crush on him and they kiss for a second before Zeke runs off. That’s significant because his Boss is trying to get him into Yale and I see his daughter blowing the whole thing up. No way a mixed race kid from the Bronx makes it to Yale in 1978. No chance!

mylene zeke
Zeke et Mylene

Meanwhile Mylene’s tio (uncle) is smashing her mum while Mylene’s dad (played by my man Giancarlo Esposito aka Gus from breaking bad) is out there preaching the gospel. It might feel really corny to say this but in so many ways, the Get Down is really a love story. Mylene and Zeke, Zeke and Hip Hop, Shao and Hip Hop, The Get Down Brothers and Hip Hop, Mylene’s tio and her mum, Mylene’s tio and his white elephant project, Mylene’s dad and the church. The thing I love about the show is that it really captures that 70’s essence. Everything feels so authentically 70’s and with my love for nostalgia, it feels as if I am discovering a TV show that was really popular in the 70’s

Over the past week, I felt like I had hyped the show a bit too much. It is apparently one of Netflix’ most expensive shows and it wasn’t exactly received with universal acclaim then there were stories of the actors getting frustrated with changes in the story line. When I watched episode 7 though, I thought, Man I love this show and all that hype was justified!

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