Netflix Series, The Get Down, Gives A Vision of Hip Hop from its Infancy – by Lorenzo “Ice Tea” Thomas


Over the weekend I watched “The Get Down,” and I must say, the Netflix project was excellent! An untold story of the origin of Hip Hop that needed a platform for all the world to see. Who better than Grand Master Flash to reflect on this infectious creative art form that we know as Hip Hop! After watching all six episodes in one night, I concluded, that all New Yorkers especially those from the Bronx should feel very proud of being part of the place of this “Billion Dollar” business. While watching, I couldn’t help but reflect on how I have argued and debated and with music consultants, presidents of programming and or people in the positions of power who have taking over the radio and turned it into a redundant cycle of repetitive nonsense. The Get Down fuses memories from when I was fired from my last job because I challenged the “corporation vs. the culture psychology.” I argued that it is straight up suicide if your radio station is defending Hip Hop but your choice as a consultant/programmer is to get rid of the mix show and DJ. Especially when the show is the #1 show on your entire station where the playlist concentrates on Hip Hop. The foundation of Hip Hop was laid down and pioneered on the blood sweat and tears of the DJ. There’s no research on earth create by the corporation that can conceptualize or comprehend the prescription to a culture that invented itself. The truly unique emphasize comes from those that lived and experienced it themselves. They are the umbilical cord to the heartbeat of the streets. Hence, because I and those in my age group lived it, we understand what the culture of Hip Hop music represents. The actual essence of the creation of Hip Hop starts with the DJ; Period! The Get Down illustrates this just like a Black exploitation film going up against the man.Thus, to complete the entire origin of Hip Hop, you must include the MC. The Get Down, loosely based on the life of more of the greatest MC’s of all-time, Nas. His involvement brings instant credibility to the project.

The first episode moves fast. It takes a second to gather all the elements so the viewer can follow the storyline. However, once it gets started, the series will educate millennials and those that are clueless on the greatness of Hip Hop history from its embryonic stages! From the creative flyers plastered all over the city advertising the parties in the park to the clubs and the search for the latest mix-tape, The Get Down takes you through the beginning of Hip Hop and the end Disco.

If you remember riding in the OJ’s instead of the graffiti sprayed trains, you will love it! The Ku-fu layered comic theme centered around the portrayal of GrandMaster Flash, is hilarious. This series takes you on a journey as if you are looking at the foundation of Hip Hop through a prism. It has a feel of the movie ‘Warriors’ but also includes the Hip Hop classic ‘Wild Style’ and yes, a touch of Disco, similar to ‘Saturday Night Fever.’ At times it may feel a little corny to the hardcore, hard rock or Hip Hop head, but it doesn’t take away from the organic ‘West Side Story’ combination with the infusion of music theater and Hip Hop. As gleeful as that may seem, it still demonstrates the grittiness of the infectious underground scene during an epic era of music. But also The Get Down illuminates and affirms the DJ Kool Herc persona as the first Hip Hop DJ ever. After watching all six episodes, it still left me wanting more, and I know the best is yet to come.

About Lorenzo “Ice Tea” Thomas

Lorenzo Thomas is the CEO/ Program Director of Live from the Mia Radio, the #1 radio station in the country on Veteran Radio and Television Personality. Director of Business Development for Outspoken Media. SAG/AFTRA Actor and recognized as Urban Network Magazine’s Radio Air Personality of the Year and Radio Facts Magazine’s Jock of the Millennium. John H. Johnson Award Winner.

Contributing writer for The Urban Buzz