Released in August 2016 on Netflix, “The Get Down” is Baz Luhrmann’s newest masterpiece. Formally known for his work in Moulin Rouge (2001), Australia (2008) and The Great Gatsby(2013), Luhrmann dabbled in a genre that had previously been untouched.
Set in the late 1970’s, when the love of disco was being replaced by the fire of hip hop, the group known as the “Fantastic Four Plus One” found their place in the South Bronx. Led by an aspiring DJ by the name of Shaolin Fantastic (played by Shameik Moore), Ezekiel Figuero (played by Justice Smith) and his best friends enter the world of hip hop, where the beat is key and one foul move can spell disaster for their whole operation.
Ezekiel, Dizzee (Jaden Smith), Ra-Ra (Skylan Brooks), and Boo-Boo (Tremaine Brown Jr.) follow Shaolin as he attempts to find his footing as a DJ artist, underneath the wing of Grandmaster Flash (Mamoudou Athie). But hip hop is not always a glorified career in the city, especially not by Ezekiel’s long time love, Mylene Cruz (Herizen F. Guardiola) who dreams more than anything to be a disco queen. With the voice to take her up the ladder in the music industry, as she sings in the song “Up The Ladder“, originally sung by the Supremes, Mylene pushes her way into the spotlight. Fearing that her love of Ezekiel will drag her back down into the South Bronx, she continually battles him and pushes him to be the best version of himself.
So Ezekiel Figuero grows. He is deemed “Books” for his amazing rhyming and rapping ability, and is the one who holds the group together. But each and every one of the members of “the Fantastic Four Plus One” have their own unique ability that they bring to the hip hop scene, and thus create fluidity in their words. Always in search for that “get down” beat, the group decides to rename themselves as “The Get Down Brothers” and work harder and harder to improve their sound and their message to the South Bronx, and to the world.
“The Get Down” is one of the greatest Netflix-made shows currently circulating. It provides a fresh look into the emergence of the hip hop age and a decent perspective for those who struggled to live during the late 1970’s. It is a highly recommended two-part series to watch, with its first 6 episodes available through Netflix. The remaining 6 episodes will not air until 2017, but they will be anticipated by the fan base already created. On IMDb, the show was given an 8.6 out of 10 star rating, and if that isn’t inspiring, then listening to one of “The Get Down Brother’s” songs may be the push the audience needs.