Netflix has been dropping a lot of Hip Hop history and knowledge on us recently, one of its latest releases is season one of, ‘Rapture’ an eight-part documentary series on a selection of some of rap’s current famous talents each whom have risen to success in their own individual way.
An interesting section of artists rappers and producers: Logic, Dave East, Nas, G-Eazy, Rapsody, A Boogie with da Hoodie, 2 Chainz and Just Blaze. Each episode divulges into the personal life and drive for each artist, a look at their creative process and what personal demons they may have fought to get to where they are today, however I felt that each aspect is only touched on. I appreciated how each artist was truly themselves, and did not pretend to be something they weren’t, the accounts were very honest, hearing from family members and close friends, it feels very personal and raw. There are constant flashes of contrasting glimpses of success and the money such as flash cars against more unglamorous images of being an artist and simply living life such as getting a haircut. This helps serve the series as a real look and not produced just to glamorize Hip Hop artists, it brings home the notion that at the end of the day rappers are still people.
Depending on your affinity to a particular artist you may take more from one episode than another, really enjoy some and struggle to watch others. I imagine diehard fans of Logic really enjoyed the first episode but for me it was very slow and disengaging despite exploring some deep issues such as mental health, racism and child abuse. My enthusiasm was not constant throughout watching the series. Personally, I most enjoyed episode 2 Nas and Dave East: The Bridge. The depth of character and open mindedness of Nas was evident as he discussed believing in spirits and an unseen world. it was also nice to follow him on looking for an apartment in Manhattan where we stated he loved the view of the New York City skyline but couldn’t stay somewhere too high up, for me this exemplified his humble nature. It was intriguing to see why Nas was drawn to sign Dave East to Mass Appeal (his record label), but as we watch we see they have a lot of similarities, both growing up in Queensbridge. The animation popped it off as did the appearance of his brother ‘Jungle’ again adding that personal touch. Rapsody comes across as a very strong positive female role model in episode 6, which helps balance out the misogyny in other episodes. ‘There is something bigger than me working this Earth for a man, that’s not what I was put here for’. As she describes putting her career and finding herself first. Just Blaze was a different perspective to being a producer and a DJ. I enjoyed seeing Havoc’s unconventional production methods and how he created ‘Shook Ones part II’ which has to be one of the most well known Mobb Deep tracks.
All in all, a slightly different take on documentaries giving unseen insights into the world of a diverse range of artists and their journey to success, all of which are very different as is their style of Hip Hop, which I think is very refreshing to celebrate. Something to learn about artists you wouldn’t otherwise know, the share graft of each individual is apparent, 2 Chainz states, ‘I never said I was the best rapper, but I work hard and that must inspire someone’, it does. This series shows us hard work pays off if you are dedicated to your passions. I enjoyed discovering how artist’s have influenced the lived of many in different ways and the impact it has made, I look forward to who will be covered in future episodes as I think I will be pleasantly surprised.