Another crop of rap-adjacent picks for your binge-watching needs.
Beats, rhymes and couch life; sometimes there’s no avoiding a day-long plunge down the Netflix rabbit hole. But let’s be honest, it always sucks when you run out of episodes of your favorite show to binge. Every time I finish the Office, I know it’ll be a couple months before I can watch it again, knowing the episodes will seem fresh.It’s the long weekend in North America, so that means plenty of extra time to park on the futon and blast reruns of How I Met Your Mother, but many whose ears are tuned to hip hop are missing out on some great titles for the sake of Ted’s storyline. Spoiler: Ted is kind’ve a terrible human being. You can finish that mess later.Need something better to watch? Not to worry, because HotNewHipHop has your back. While the Netflix catalog is an ever changing smorgasbord of hope and disappointment, here are 11 great films, series and documentaries you can binge on all weekend long.The Bronx was bedlam in the early 1970s. With the dilapidated borough becoming increasingly fragmented with violent street gangs, the eventual birthplace of hip hop was on the brink of social collapse. Watch the documentary to see the problems solve themselves from within, spawning great music in the process.
Ever been made fun of for wearing your jeans too tight? It’s not 2005 anymore, but “West Coast” puts four French teens in the spotlight as they look to get back at a peer for a classroom insult. Four lost kids try to emulate west coast gangsters, with mixed results.
This documentary chronicles the alternative hip-hop movement started in south central Los Angeles in the late 80s and early 90s, featuring MCs who rejected the notions of gangster rap, but found solace in poetry. Notably featuring archive footage of Medusa and Charlie 2na and many more, the documentary interviews big players from the scene and dissects the beginnings of alternative hip hop.
Two New York graffiti artists have to up the ante when their art is dissed by a rival crew. The logical response? Tag the New York Mets’ home run apple, naturally. First, they’ll need some money. Follow the teenaged pair on their journey to infamy. Graffiti and New York hip hop go hand in hand. Watch this movie to get a sense of why graffiti artists featured so prominently in hip hop culture as the genre grew.
Snoop Dogg. Wiz Khalifa. “High” School. This doesn’t need further explanation, right? Snoop’s character is a career high-schooler, while Wiz is the valedictorian who just can’t seem to get out gracefully. He’s struggling to write his valedictorian speech. We’ll leave you to it. The juxtaposition between the two, and irony of the entire story line should make you click play.
Boyz N The Hood
With an all-star cast including Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube and Cuba Gooding, Boyz N the hood is a visceral take on the precarious life many lead in south central Los Angeles, where anybody can die any day. A community eats itself in this drama as Tre, played by Ice Cube, tries to drag himself out.
Yes, grime-influenced shows totally count. This is not a documentary, but a fictional representation of life on a London housing estate. Top Boy’s main characters deal with the struggles of a microcosmic community ridden with crime and social problems, many of which are the roots of grime music. It’s a gritty thriller of a mini-series, which Drake has apparently saved from cancellation. Look out for the third season next year, but hit the play button now.
Eminem assumes the alias of “B Rabbit” in this loose retelling of the Detroit-born rapper’s success born from the underground. The main bits of the story are about right; Eminem did struggle with a drug-addled mother, he did shine in rap battles that led to his discovery. But don’t sweat the details, because this is a great movie about one man’s ability to come up despite adversity in the form of violence, family issues and self-doubt.
Four Asian rappers try to make it in America. It’s a film that’s a documentary which dabbles in comedy, notably featuring Awkwafina and Dumbfoundead’s trials and tribulations of representing a tiny minority within in an art form driven by other minorities. Hence the double-entendre title, “Bad Rap.”
Clipse were unavoidable in the early 2000s. No house party, no school tabletop was safe from bumping the “Grindin” beat at lunch. Clipse’s rise to prominence meant that No Malice lost a bit of his soul on the way up. The End of Malice documents and dissects his problems with getting lost in the business, and clawing his way back to normal with the help of religion.
Speaking of Clipse, You Got Served is both era-appropriate and an absolute banger. Focused on the resurgent b-boy movement in the 2000s, You Got Served is about a ragtag dance crew battling for supremacy in a crowded Los Angeles scene. There’s love, loss and redemption in this classic movie that arguably spawned the increased popularity of movies in which hip-hop and dancing are central themes.