With an end to the quarantine at least two weeks away, odds are that you’ve been binge-watching Netflix as part of your patriotic duty to stay home. If you’ve already run through the latest releases, don’t worry, you don’t have to resort to the news as there’s a wealth of hip-hop documentaries available on the popular streaming services.
Hip-Hop Evolution (Netflix): Even hip-hop’s master scholars can learn something new from this four-season documentary, which uses interviews with influential MCs, DJs, and other hip-hop influencers as well as archived footage to trace the genre’s dynamic evolution from the 1970s through the present day.
Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (Showtime): This four-part series tells the story of the iconic group’s inspiring rise from New York’s streets to the biggest stages in the world. It uses interviews and never-before-seen footage, photos, and the soundtrack to create a visual and auditory masterpiece that is the perfect escape from today’s world.
Death Row Chronicles (BET): This six-part series uses a narrative storytelling approach to tell the story of Death Row’s last 30 years. In addition to exclusive interviews with Suge Knight from prison, the series covers the trials, tribulations, and heartache for some of the label’s biggest names including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, and more.
Unsolved (Netflix): Although it’s not a documentary, this series relies exclusively on real events. Josh Duhamel recreates the role of a Los Angeles detective who investigated the murders of Biggie and Tupac in 2008. Upcoming actors Jimmi Simpson and Bokeem Woodbine do an excellent job of bringing Tupac and Biggie back from the grave- at least for 10 binge-worthy episodes.
Bad Rap (Netflix): In a time when many Asian-American are wrongfully being discriminated against, this documentary showcases some of today’s aspiring and mainstream Asian-American rappers such as Dumbfoundead, Awkwafina, Rekstizzy and Lyricks. It’s a great story about the artists who are desperate to make a name for themselves in an industry that still regards them as outsiders- something that almost any viewer regardless of race can relate to.
Rapture (Netflix): This series gets personal with major artists including Logic, Nas, G-Eazy, 2 Chainz, Dave East, Rapsody, A Boogie with da Hoodie, Just Blaze, and more sharing the stories (and struggles) behind their success. It’s raw, it’s real, and it’s inspiring- perfect for the dark times that we find ourselves living in today.