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The Get Down's Anatomy

All the inspirations behind the series

The Get Down's Anatomy All the inspirations behind the series

1977. Bronx. New York.

A group of kids discovering the world.

Marcus "Dizzee" Kipling (Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith) is a writer who spends his time doing psychedelic tags, just like his idol Shaolin Fantastic, drug dealer/graffiti artist with DJ aspirations.

Mylene Cruz (Herizen Guardiola) dreams of becoming a disco diva, hampered by his father, a strict pastor.

Ezekiel "Zeke" Figuero (Justice Smith), called "Books", with a natural talent for rhymes and a heart tormented by his love for Mylene, carries his life, a day after another, between the Bronx's grey surroundings, the desire for redemption and the raids with friends. One day he encounters Shaolin Fantastic and his life will never be the same.

With the help of Grandmaster Flash (Mamoudou Athie), hip hop's godfather, and thanks to one purple crayon, the three guys will discover the secret of the 'get down beat' as well as the desire to stand out from the street as MC and DJ, with the 'Fantastic Four Plus One', the crew formed with their childhood friends.

Amongst spray cans, burning houses, gangs and gangsters, a decaying neighborhood ruled by crime, aspirations and rhymes, we have The Get Down, the Netflix series created by Baz Luhrmann e Stephen Adly Guirgis and produced by Nas and Grandmaster Flash.

The real star? Music, with underground mythology of DJs at the dawn of hip hop and rap.


FEEL LIKE: Jamel Shabazz, Joe Conzo

"I remember being in Paris and seeing this picture by Jamel Shabazz", Baz Luhrmann explains while talking about the photographer who documented 1970s New York's youth culture with its mix of violence, poverty and dilapidated buildings, and who ended up inspiring The Get Down "I wanted to explore how these kids, living in the Bronx with such struggle, managed to create this art form that changed culture around the world".

Shabazz, who recently worked on Kylie Jenner's campaign for Puma, captured 40 years (he started when he was only 15) New York's urban scene, the people, the streets, the rhythm. Along with Joe Conzo and Ernie Paniccioli, he's considered the first hip hop photographer.


DRESS LIKE: Grace Wales Bonner, Halston, Gucci, Diane von Furstenberg

Costume designers Jeriana San Juan and Catherine Martin, Luhrmann's wife, brought a whole era back to life – every detail, dress, pants, vest, hem is recreated with extreme attention – and have put together an archive of 70s garments so huge that it won itself a 'personal' Instagram account @thegetdowncostumes.

For the new Netflix series HalstonDiane von Furstenberg e Gucci opened their archives, while PumaConverse, e Pro-Keds remade, especially for the show, some iconic sneakers such as Shaolin Fantastic's red suede Pumas

There are many vintage pieces, while others are new (Grace Wales Bonner would be perfect) that evoke the mood of the period, tracked looking in thrift shops and flea markets, studying the photographs by Joe Conzo and Jamel Shabazz, but also the wardrobe of Grandmaster Flash and catalog from Sears, JC Penney, and Montgomery Ward dating 1970 - 1980.

Some interesting facts: the stunning old lamè dress worn by Mylene at Les Inferno is an obvious tribute to Halston and looks seen at Studio 54; for her debut on the screen Yolanda Kipling shows off an original Diane von Furstenberg dress; some clothes have been customized by Pink Lady, one of the most famous writers of the time.


THINK LIKE: "Jamel Shabazz: Back In The Days Coloring Book"

Yes, there is the biography written by Grandmaster Flash and David Ritz entitled "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats", but if there is a book that really embodies the spirit of The Get Down it's "Jamel Shabazz: back In The Days Coloring Book", published by Power House Books.

The illustrated version of NYC street culture bible is super cool, an alternative and creative way to bring out the colours of hip hop style.


SOUND LIKE: "The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel" Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

The get down beat.

It's Grandmaster Flash's revolution that gives the title to Luhrmann's series: two discs, played one after another, repeating continuously the same piece of a song, the one with the right beat.

With this new technique the DJ, who is also The Get Down's producer, has changed the fate of the music, inventing a genre that is still part of our lives and of our playlists, thanks to artists like Notorious BIG, Tupac, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and Jay Z.

The soundtrack of the series witnesses the spirit of America in the 1970s and it includes funk, rap, disco music and Latin rhythms, Earth Wind & Fire, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, The Temptations, The Supremes and Nile Rodgers unreleased hit sung by Christina Aguilera.

The Get Down is saturated with music that goes beyond the mere soundtrack becoming protagonist, like Zeke and Mylene.

The most interesting moment? The intro of each episode with the rhymes of adult Ezekiel Figero, played by Nas, summarizing previous episodes.


TASTE LIKE: Classic Hamburger



LOVE LIKE: Baz Luhrmann's aesthetic


The Get Down is an ambitious project (the budget was $10m per episode), infused with images, colours, music, fashion, life, dreams, inspirations.

Saturated with the late '70s New York vibes.

An overflowing, boundless visual style, which is rooted in the obsessive attention to detail, sometimes deliberately anachronistic, always on the edge between drama and irony. Is the Australian director's the trademark. You love it or hate it.

After watching the first six episodes of the Netflix series – the others will air in 2017 – the audience breathes what South Bronx smells like, the desire for redemption and Mylene, Zeke and DJ Shaolin's dreams. Every fibre of our being becomes to be part of the story and it moves to the hip hop beat.

You'll forgive The Get Down's imperfect, fragmented narrative because your eyes will be lost in Luhrmann's aesthetic and that will be enough.

And then there's the beautiful music and the insane rhymes.