In Three Words: Pac, Underground, South
PREVIOUS SEASON REVIEWS:
Well this one hit my Netflix homepage out of nowhere! Seriously, I got put onto this (Not the first time) by a friend. I would've known the next time I hopped on Netlfix but for real, where was the advertisement for this?! You don't dip into the third season of an Original Documentary Series and give it no hype at all. Like, what?
Anyway, if you're reading this, you're probably one of the blessed ones to have this pop onto your homepage. So let us be blessed together and get into this!
So first of all, Season 3 of this very well done Docu-Series suffered from its subject matter. When I knew that this series was going to go further than one season, (I genuinely thought it was a one-off at first.) it was clear that they were going to have to talk about the more covered subjects. The first two episodes of this season was that dreaded moment. Both covering the West/East Coast beef but split between the perspectives of the two most recognisable people in the eye of the storm. 2Pac & Biggie.
Now, this isn't the first time that 2Pac has had some airtime on this show. When watching the Oakland/Bay Area episode from S2 and then getting to this showed how much 2Pac was affected by his prison stint, experience with Police and Media judging his character. The consistency over seasons was very nice, especially when Shock G was on to bridge pre-prison 2Pac from post-prison 2Pac. The coverage of The Source Awards was a good highlight. I personally find that flash-point in Hip-Hop history so intriguing.
That synergy I got for Ep.1, wasn't as punchy with the Biggie/Puff/Bad Boy episode. All I was thinking about during that episode was the film "Notorious". Not because the film is the bastion of facts or anything, it was just how the episode was structured. Once they got to Biggie's funeral (which to this day is fascinating to see just by the atmosphere and turnout.) it then started to get a little better. The Jay-Z segment was very good, shouts to Jaz-O & Big Daddy Kane. But the way this show basically says that if it wasn't for Dame Dash Jay wouldn't be Jay, I mean that would explain why Dame Dash speaks on Jay-Z at every point possible to this day but I'll just eat that and move on. I'm not educated on that front to battle it.
Apart from the Jay segment, Ep.2 felt like a bridge between the 1st and 3rd episode.
Speaking of the 3rd episode. THIS is where this show shines and is the reason why this Docu-Series has been so good up to this point. We know about the big moments, there's been PLENTY of documentaries & biopics about the prior subjects. This episode on the new generation of Underground rappers like Supernatural, Eminem, Talib Kweli & Mos Def was the most enjoyable episode for me. The progression was very straight-lined. Some rappers do cyphers in NY parks, Mayor Giuliani shuts that down, they then go inside and create the Lyricist Lounge, then Stretch & Bobbito come in and Black Star make a classic. Sometimes the story just sits right on your lap and purrs, it was great. Shout out to the LA & Detroit sides of it as well. The essence of this episode reminds me of S1 and a couple on S2. The grass root feel is brilliant and shows what I love about Hip-Hop.
And then it's ended with the Atlanta episode. Whilst the previous episode was my favourite, this was the one where I learned the most. I honestly didn't know much about the ATL scene past OutKast, Organized Noise & Goodie Mob. The history behind them such as Shy D and the music preceding was fascinating. It was very reminiscent of the Miami/2 Live Crew episode. Atlanta Hip-Hop evolved very quickly in 10 years and the initial words by Killer Mike, talking about the rich black history in Atlanta made a lot of sense once the episode ended.
The fact that I haven't done a two-part review on this particular season might say a lot about how I felt about this Season. It is the weakest for me personally, but that's not at fault of the show. I don't know about you, but I initially watched this show to learn and hear stories from the people that lived it. I get the 2nd part in spades but I didn't learn a lot in the first two episodes.
But don't let my expectations deter you from watching this. This is a very well done series with great visuals, great pacing and the people they get to orally tell the stories are perfect.