Music News

Music News

Music News

This year marks the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, with festivals taking place worldwide. Festivities include concerts, tours, battles, competitions, exhibitions, and more. Featuring beloved DJs, MCs, breakdancers, beatboxers, graffiti artists, and many other talented people coming together to celebrate this milestone.

Hip-hop has proven to be more than just a music genre. One domain where its influence has had an impact is television. In its early days, hip-hop faced significant criticism and was often subjected to harmful stereotypes perpetuated by mainstream media. However, as hip-hop artists continued to defy expectations and prove their talent, television gradually began to reflect this shift. Shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which starred Will Smith, and In Living Color, which showcased a diverse cast and featured hip-hop elements, helped challenge stereotypes and introduced a new narrative on TV.

Hip-hop’s TV influence

As hip-hop’s popularity skyrocketed, it started influencing TV storytelling. Shows like Empire and Power integrated hip-hop culture into their narratives, offering a glimpse into the music industry and the life of artists. Additionally, hip-hop-themed reality TV competitions, such as Rhythm + Flow and The Rap Game, have provided aspiring artists with a platform to showcase their talent and win industry recognition. These programs have allowed viewers to connect with hip-hop on a deeper level and gain insights into the art form.

Hip-hop’s impact on television goes beyond fiction. Docuseries like Hip-Hop Evolution and Unsung give us an inside look into influential artists’ lives and the genre’s history. These shows educate and celebrate hip-hop’s cultural significance, winning hearts worldwide. Hip-hop now drives TV commercials, featuring artists and their music to boost product appeal.

From its early days battling stereotypes to its current influence on various TV formats, hip-hop has revolutionized television in countless ways. Its ability to inspire creativity, break barriers, and foster inclusivity has forever changed the small screen landscape. As we continue to celebrate the genre’s milestones and significant impact on society, hip-hop’s journey on television is far from over. With its continued growth and evolution, hip-hop will undoubtedly leave an enduring legacy, shaping television for future generations.

  • 'Atlanta'

    Atlanta has won the hearts of many due to its unique and surreal standalone episodes. The narrative revolves around Alfred “Paper Boi” Marks’ (Brian Tyree Henry) journey, from his early mixtape days to a tour in season three.

    The series draws inspiration from numerous real-life rap figures and incidents, infusing an authentic touch into its storyline. Moreover, Atlanta shines a spotlight on both established and up-and-coming Southern rappers, featuring them through cameos or its soundtrack.

    Donald Glover’s comedy also taps into hip-hop’s fearless spirit of reinvention, proving that storytelling knows no bounds. It is a powerful reminder to artists everywhere that they can push the boundaries and create something truly extraordinary.

  • 'Empire'

    Empire, Fox’s long-running musical soap opera dived into the world of a corporate dynasty. At its center was Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), a former rapper turned hip-hop mogul, faced with the tough decision of choosing his successor among his three children. While the series had many memorable moments, Taraji P. Henson stole the show with her portrayal of Lucious’ ex-wife, Cookie.

    It became a standout hit during the mid-2010s. The show’s original soundtrack had everyone hooked with its music. Additionally, Empire fearlessly tackled the issue of homophobia in hip-hop through the character of Jamal (Jussie Smollet), Lucious’ middle child, delivering a great performance that resonated with viewers.

  • 'Rap Sh!t'

    Rap Sh!t, a creation of Issa Rae and with rap duo City Girls as executive producers, is the latest series to explore the modern-day rap scene, where social media can transform an up-and-coming MC into a superstar. The story follows childhood friends Shauna (Aida Osman) and Mia (KaMillion), who gain attention in their hometown of Miami after their live-streamed freestyle goes viral. This leads them to form a rap group and embark on their journey into the rap game. They face challenges like booking their first live performance and asserting their identities as female rappers in a male-dominated industry.

    The show gained viewers’ attention with its hot original songs and unique storytelling technique, depicting the characters’ days through IG Lives and video calls. Rap Sh!t captures the essence of the modern rap scene while highlighting the power of social media in shaping an artist’s career.

  • 'The Get Down'

    The Get Down, a short-lived musical epic created by Baz Luhrmann, aired on Netflix. It immerses viewers in the early days of hip-hop in the South Bronx. The story unfolds through the eyes of teenagers who find themselves entangled in the worlds of music and crime while pursuing their dreams. This show blends elements of young love, gang wars, coming-of-age adventures, and even featuring former NYC mayor Ed Koch, to paint a vivid picture of the circumstances that birthed the hip-hop culture.

  • 'Dave'

    Dave, the FXX comedy, joins the ranks of shows that use commentary on modern-day hip-hop,  drawing comparisons to Atlanta. In this series, we follow an aspiring rapper, played by real-life artist Dave Burd, who brings his alter ego, Lil Dicky, to life on the small screen. Yet, while both shows dive into the world of hip-hop, Dave takes a different path from Donald Glover’s series.

    Dave skillfully explores its main character, using crude absurdist humor (even the rapper’s moniker, Lil Dicky, references penis size, hints at the show’s comedic style). In addition, the series dives into the character’s privilege as a white male rapper, adding an essential layer to the narrative. As the lead character ascends through the industry in later seasons, the show boasts an impressive lineup of celebrity guest stars, further adding to the storyline.

  • 'Queens'

    Queens, a one-season drama that follows the former members of a fictional ’90s female rap crew as they reunite after 20 years. The women of Nasty Bitches, portrayed by Brandy, Eve, Naturi Naughton, and Nadine Velazquez, each have compelling backstories that echo the histories of female rap and R&B pioneers like Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa, and TLC.

    The result is a short-lived yet insightful glimpse into the cyclical nature of the music industry and its treatment of the talented women behind the microphones. Queens offers a look at the challenges and triumphs female artists face as they navigate the ever-changing landscape of the music business.

  • 'Blindspotting'

    Blindspotting, based on the 2018 indie gem of the same name, continues to showcase how hip-hop is a powerful means of storytelling rather than the central plot itself. Through rap and dance, the show features the inner struggles and formative pasts of its characters.

    Following the story of Ashley (Jasmine Cephas-Jones) as she navigates life after her partner Miles’ (Rafael Casal) sudden incarceration, the series takes us on a journey as she moves in with his hippie mother Rainey (Helen Hunt) and tough sister, Trish (Jaylen Barron). It is a compassionate case study on how mass incarceration impacts an entire family. Moreover, Blindspotting serves as a heartfelt tribute to Oakland hip-hop, featuring appearances by local legends like E-40 and Too Short.

  • 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga'

    Created by Alex Tse and Wu-Tang founder RZA, this scripted series dives into the origin and rise of the groundbreaking rap group, all set against the backdrop of the ’90s crack-cocaine epidemic.

    The series focuses on Bobby Diggs (a young RZA, portrayed by Ashton Sanders) as he brings together the group’s twelve members. In these early days, survival takes precedence over the distant dream of success as rappers. The first season takes a coming-of-age approach, slowly building the characters’ lives before they ever step foot in the recording booth. While the pace may be realistic and gradual, it ultimately leads to a rewarding payoff as they finally enter the world of music.

  • 'Rhythm + Flow'

    Back in 2019, Netflix gave the standard music-competition reality show a remix with Rhythm + Flow. The show enlisted the expertise of Cardi B, T.I., and Chance the Rapper, who traveled to America’s four hip-hop capitals in search of the next MC sensation. This unscripted show took its talented contestants on a journey, mimicking the experiences of aspiring MCs.

    From live audition rounds where the audience’s excitement mattered as much as the judges’ opinions to intense rap battles, sampling challenges, and show-stopping finale performances featuring original songs, Rhythm + Flow brought the heat. Fans eagerly await a second season.

  • 'Jungle'

    The crime drama Jungle follows the British drill-rap scene, incorporating real-life rappers on and off-screen. The lead character, Gogo (Ezra Elliott), often breaks into rap verses during intense moments of intense emotion. Inspired by films like Blade Runner and Belly, this Prime Video series follows Gogo, a dispirited thief seeking a way to survive and support his pregnant girlfriend, Jessica (Nadia A’Rubea).

    Creators Junior Okoli and Chas Appet, known as the duo Nothing Lost, take the classic “one last job” plot and venture into an inner-city musical. Jungle weaves an engaging narrative, blending the raw energy of the drill-rap scene with compelling characters and a fresh, urban storytelling approach.

  • 'Yo! MTV Raps'

    Back in the days when MTV ruled the music discovery scene, Yo! MTV Raps took hip-hop and rap right into the heart of America. It was a time when the genre was still finding its way to becoming a massive American sensation. Now, the younger crowd can catch up on the show’s early glory days as Paramount Plus offers the first two seasons of the original show. Not only that, but in 2022, a reboot came along featuring stars like Trina, Freddie Gibbs, and Latto, bringing a fresh wave of hip-hop goodness to the screen.

  • 'Chozen'

    Chozen is an animated comedy centered around its character, “Chozen,” a gay white rapper recently released from prison. With a renewed purpose, Chozen embarks on a journey of redemption, aiming to establish himself as the world’s top rap artist. His music and lyrics challenge the stereotypes of misogyny that have long been associated with rap music. Chozen’s transformative experience in prison has shaped his new worldview, infusing his music with a fresh and powerful perspective.

     

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