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Here's why you need to watch The Get Down if you haven't already


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I first came across The Get Down through a screengrab on Twitter from the first episode.

The caption read something along the lines of "his voice is too good" and the quote on the picture was "stab your hate into my love". That’s what first drew me to the show, and what kept me going.

The show is full of voices, figuratively and literally. It gives a story platform for characters whose stories are often overlooked and its soundtrack is rife with the sounds of a 70s New York at the brink of bankruptcy.

The Get Down is a near mythological story about disco and the origins of hip-hop that makes you nostalgic for simpler times when dreams felt more achievable, regardless of whether you lived through them or not.  

The series starts with famous singer Zeke rapping the beginning of his story to a large audience. As the narrative unfolds, we learn that before achieving fame and glory, Zeke was the Bronx-born Ezekiel, a smart teen who is incredibly talented and incredibly lovestruck. His muse and unrequited crush, Mylene, has ambitions of her own: to get out of Bronx and become a disco diva. That, given that it’s New York 1977, is completely understandable.

The Get Down follows the story of Ezekiel, Mylene and their friends as they struggle between doing what they love and what is expected of them. Hoping to impress her at the club she’s going to, Ezekiel gets an extremely rare record of her favourite song.

However, a popular, yet elusive graffiti artist by the name of Shaolin Fastastic is also looking for that exact record, because he wants to become a DJ. The two of them clash, but once they learn each other’s situation, they manage to find a compromise. Shaolin is also sure he’s found his ‘wordsmith’ – the one to rap alongside his music. They team up, hoping to sweep the city with their music, but it’s not long before they encounter setbacks. 

The setting depicts a much different city than the one we're used to: a New York that is struggling and still developing; a city that doesn’t back down and embraces the multiculturalism and sheer energy of its residents. Each character is bright and unique, regardless of how much screen time they get, and so different that when they inadvertently clash, the conflict is grand. That’s the kind of New York that gives birth to the well-loved genres of hip-hop, punk and disco.

The characters are deeply intertwined with the songs they sing or the music they play. Every emotion that they experience (and they go through a lot, given that most of them are teenagers) is interlaced within songs they sing themselves, or the rest of a brilliant soundtrack.

And the show doesn’t shy away from historic events - like the 1977 blackout that resulted in city-wide looting and other disorderly conduct, including arson. It even uses them to further its plot. The style of its cinematography itself harkens back to the style of camp blaxploitation and kung fu.

A colourful and exuberant series, The Get Down is well worth the watch!

The first six episodes are out on Netflix, with the rest expected to release in 2017. 

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