The talent behind The Get Down, the forthcoming Netflix original series chronicling the late 1970s rise of hip-hop in New York, is undeniable. Baz Luhrmann, the underrated dude behind Moulin Rouge!, is directing. Shameik Moore, Justice Smith, Skylan Brooks, Jaden Smith, and Mamoudou Athie are starring. Nas is an executive producer. Grandmaster Flash is an associate producer. Wait. Grandmaster Flash?! That’s right.
“I remember Baz saying to me, listen, I think it would be cool if we made you a character,” Flash recalled in this fresh behind-the-scenes clip. Flash, who had a big hand in making sure the actors nailed their DJing skills in a believably cinematic fashion, was mainly concerned with successfully bringing some history to Luhrmann’s distinct visual style. “For me to be able to take the ingredients of hip-hop and put it in this visual presentation is totally, totally amazing,” Flash said.
For Mamoudou Athie, who was lucky enough to portray Grandmaster Flash in The Get Down, the weight of that history certainly didn’t go unnoticed. “I feel like I’m playing like a little part of, you know, hip hop history now,” Athie said. “[Flash] helped create a large part of what DJing is today so it’s a huge honor.”
Speaking with our own Andrew Gruttadaro last week, The Get Down stars Jaden Smith and Shameik Moore opened up about the story’s potential impact on 2016 America. “I mean, Grandmaster was literally just speaking to me and Shameik right before we walked in here,” Smith told Complex. “He was saying how it’s really important for kids now to know what was happening, where it was happening, and why. That the Bronx is the mecca of hip-hop. The stories of everyone there and how they got out and made a name for themselves.”
The Get Down premieres its first 6 episodes Aug. 12 on Netflix platforms all around the world. This series is obviously a must-watch.