A Sit Down with the Producers of Netflix’s “Hip Hop Evolution”

Ever wonder where real Hip Hop originated? Before the likes of Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, Nas and Jay-Z were killing the mic. Yes, these were pace setting MC’s, but let’s take it back to the Run DMC, NWA, LL Cool J, and Public Enemy type of days?

The rising popularity of the Netflix Hip-Hop Evolution series does just that. In the most authentic and effective of ways. The gritty tell-all documentary series, (currently on its way to Season 2) gives new life to how the history, birth and overall progression of hip-hop and its groundbreaking influence still carries heavy weight on today’s rap game. The documentary focuses mostly on the pivotal years, where hip-hop would see the most change. (1970’s-1990’s) They explore the times when conscious groups like Public Enemy and Salt N Pepa were at their finest. When groups like Run DMC and the Beastie Boys helped inspire the rap/rock phenomenon. The series also includes rare footage of live battle rap sessions between iconic MC’s, and unseen performance clips with some of Hip Hop’s at the height of their careers.

Recently, Doxygen Media caught up with the producers of the show, Rodrigo Bascunan & Darby Wheeler, where thoughts and origins of the series were shared in a conference during the A3C Festival. Here are some enlightening details we took away at the conference regarding the creation and ideology behind the series and its success:

  1. The Hip Hop Evolution series originally aired in Canada, before it began making waves in the U.S. The show has been nominated for several awards thus far including a Peabody Award and International Emmy’s (Canada and U.S.)
  2. The goal for Season 2 is to show even more versatility on influential artists, other than focusing on East Coast where the genre originated. More emphasis will be put on the emergence of the South early on, showcasing a number of acts that helped put Southern rap on the map.
  3. None other than Queens bridge rapper Nas, is one of the masterminds and executive producers as well as a returning cast member on the series.
  4. According to Bascunan & Wheeler, the original idea behind the project was to shed more light and bring rap music’s history to the forefront for the first time in a resounding manner. Also to help pay homage to those who paved the way, rather intentionally or not, on what would later be deemed as a cultural revolution named “Hip-Hop.”
  5. As a result of the success of the series, the producers are in the process of showcasing additional Hip Hop centric specials that may serve as spinoffs to Evolution.

-DeShonna Watson



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