I have recently found interest in the new weekly series on Netflix, “Rhythm & Flow,” a hip-hop music competition show featuring iconic celebrity judges such as Cardi B, Chance the Rapper and T.I. which first premiered on Oct. 9. I began watching this show thinking it was just another competition show and I wouldn’t be too impressed, but I was immediately mistaken within the first 30 minutes of the first episode.
The show begins with each judge holding auditions in their respective cities—which also just happen to be some of the biggest birth cities to hip-hop such as Atlanta, Chicago and New York.
Here, the judges find true talent they think could withstand the competition and collectively send 30 competitors to Los Angeles. It was nice to see the judges weren’t just searching for the best face or the best story, instead they were searching for a true artist. This included their energy, stage presence, confidence, ability to perform and of course, musical talent.
The stakes for the winner of this competition are a no-strings-attached grand prize of $250,000 and a feature on Spotify’s “Rap Caviar.” Unlike other shows such as American Idol where the money prize is essentially the same, no producer, judge or company will be taking any gratuity, royalties or expect any money back—the artist has complete freedom to do whatever with this money.
Though this show may just sound like another regular music show in the grand scheme, it is far from anything you have likely seen before. There was a sense of energy and hype throughout the show which kept viewers engaged.
There is no set order of the show so it doesn’t look like a scripted competitive singing show. The judges remained laidback yet involved, critical yet friendly and have an overall boss presence a hip-hop competition show would be expected to have.
With just 10 episodes in this series, each episode gave us a real-world view of how hip-hop saves lives, provides freedom from a never-ending system, gives hope and helps heal wounds which otherwise would’ve never seen light.
The show did this by allowing the artists to have freedom over the content they were putting out. The contestants weren’t rapping over already established celebrity songs or preforming to another artist, they were competing with their own work.
For example, one of the most interesting competitions in the show was allowing the contestants to go to their hometown and create their own music video. They didn’t have to do this alone though; the artists were freely given a professional video crew and were assigned their own producer to help them create a quality video.
Through the episodes, there was a focus on each contestant and the background of where they were coming from. In this, the audience got to truly understand and connect with the contestants.
We built relationships with those on screen just by either relating, empathizing or understanding who this person was. In this, we also got to see how hip-hop for many is a means of escape, a chance at a better life or just a childhood dream coming true.
Some stories were harsher than others and some were more profound than others. Nevertheless, it was easy to see their passion, especially for hip-hop, stems from something bigger than themselves; the artists express themselves and their stories through the music they create.
While we got to learn more about the artists through their stories, we also got to learn more about them through each piece of music they created and how they approached each competition. There was never a dull moment in the competition because there was always a unique twist. The celebrity judges weren’t the only celebrities on this show.
With each new competition the contestants were given, they were given help and guidance by other legendary hip-hop artists, producers or R&B artists such as: Snoop Dog, the late Nipsey Hussle, Quavo, Miguel, DJ Khalid, Tory Lanez, Jhene Aiko, Jadakiss and Big Boi just to name a few.
In one of the final episodes of this show, the final five contestants were given the opportunity to perform on stage in front of an audience of more than 1,200 people with an iconic R&B artist and a live band; this allowed the judges to truly get a feel of what it would be like to see these contestants preform in a concert setting.
If you have not watched the show yet, I won’t spoil the ending for you, but the winner of the competition was well-deserved and well-versed to be able compete as a superstar in one of the country’s most competitive and popular fields of music.
The judges surely picked someone they believe to be America’s next rising star. In the final episode, Cardi B is even shown pretending to make a phone call about this star after his final performance saying, “Hellooooo, Kendrick Lamar! I have a friend for you.”
I will now leave you with the opportunity to check out this show for yourself and form your own opinion. The culture and energy in this show is something I do not want you to miss out on.
Whether you are an avid Hip-Hop fan, dabble with the music a little or don’t have a single song of this genre on your playlist—I can guarantee this show will still be in one of your top favorites. It is refreshing, new, exciting and you can’t help to think “Dang, I wish I were on this show,” or at least I did.