This documentary series on Netflix is so fucking dope! If you know us at all, you know we’re obsessive old school hip-hop fans, and Hip-Hop Evolution just gets it right. Shad interviews all the legends from the beginning of hip-hop in the seventies through the commercial explosion of gangsta rap in the late eighties. So much classic hip-hop music and really terrific storytelling and editing, the whole package has us hype!
Watch it now: https://www.netflix.com/title/80141782
And when you finish binge watching Hip-Hop Evolution, dig into our History of Hip-Hop mix series.
(Photo Credit: Nigel Parry)
Inspiration – Michael K Williams (courtesy of Ayres)
This interview with Omar from The Wire (who also hosts a new show on Viceland and stars in Hap & Leonard on Sundance TV) is really thorough and inspiring – did you know that he started his career as a house dancer? Or that he grew up in Flatbush with members of the Boot Camp Click? Listen up:
By all accounts the hardest thing about growing old is that all your friends die. Every time you lose someone who touched you, you’re a little better equipped – no less sad, but more prepared to process the grief. But this one really hurts. A Tribe Called Quest meant everything to us when we were growing up, really informing our tastes and personalities. I never met Phife Dawg – weirdly he’s the only person from A Tribe Called Quest who I never met, I guess because he lived in Atlanta – but he always struck me as a real sincere, sweet man. Michael Rappaport’s excellent documentary “Beats, Rhymes & Life” confirmed this impression and shined a light on Phife’s line “when was the last time you heard a funky diabetic.” That wasn’t just a punchline, it was a twenty-five year struggle that killed him in the end.
Phife was the consummate punchline rapper, bringing a playfulness that perfectly complimented Q-Tip’s more serious leanings. But they weren’t Flavor Flav and Chuck D – Phife wasn’t a hype man, he was a brilliant wordsmith and a beast of a rapper. Somehow he was able to be hilarious and at the same time bring his full personality through, cutting through the boasting and battling with the unique perspective of a guy from Queens with roots in Trinidad who loved his grandparents, obsessed over sports, sometimes struck out with girls – a truly relatable everyman in a genre of self-proclaimed superheros.
Let’s all celebrate his life and listen to A Tribe Called Quest records. If you want more, dig into these mixes, which all feature Phife Dawg: