LOGIC: Gray Matters
NAS & DAVE EAST: The Bridge
T.I.: Taking a Stand
G-EAZY: Worldwide Amplified
2 CHAINZ: Sleep When U Die
RAPSODY: Raising the Bars
JUST BLAZE: It’s Lit!
A BOOGIE WIT DA HOODIE: Uptown Baby
Following hot on the heels of fellow hip hop documentary The Defiant Ones, Netflix’s 8 part series Rapture takes a much more positive outlook on the world of hip hop and the profound effect it’s having on society today. With the exception of one episode showcasing Nas’ history, the rest of the episodes focus on artists at the cutting edge of a revolutionising hip hop era. Rapture manages to introduce you to each artist, diving into their past and showing their journey into hip hop whilst thematically structuring each episode around a positive message championed by each artist. It’s ultimately this positivity that makes Rapture such a refreshing documentary series to watch and different from the usual stigma around this style of music.
From Logic tackling taboo subjects like suicide and depression in his music to Rapsody’s cleverly poetic lyrics helping to pave the way for a new breed of female rappers, there’s a great array of content showcased in this series. Despite the stark differences between each rapper and what they stand for, Rapture follows a pretty familiar format in each episode. Between interviews with the artist and their friends and family, Rapture shows the creative process in the music studio and also clips from their tours around the world. All of these visuals are accompanied by music tracks from each artist layered over the images. Nestled within this format is a thematically strong core that serves to individualise each episode and help it work as a stand alone piece meaning the episodes can be watched in any order.
Those already accustomed to hip hop will certainly get more out of this one, especially with the way Rapture references figureheads in the industry, but anyone remotely interested in music or the creative process each artist takes to produce their music will love this documentary series. Just Blaze’s episode predominantly focuses on this process too, with large chunks of the run time dedicated to realistically depicting what it’s like to craft music in the studio. Logic’s episode shows the backstage nuances that go into pulling off a successful tour and Rapsody’s episode briefly depicts freestyling for lyrical content on the streets. This fascinating insight into the creative process never feels contrived either and seeing tracks slowly come together beat by beat or the inspiring journeys these men and women have taken is really satisfying to watch.
Rapture is a fascinating and absorbing documentary series that focuses on the positive aspects of hip hop music. How much you’ll enjoy Rapture really comes down to just how enjoyable you find this style of music or how interested you are in the creative process of making music. Although briefly touching on the artists’ history, the episodes focus much more heavily on current events and the creative process in making music. With an array of artists from T.I. to Rapsody, there’s an eclectic collection of rappers showcased here and the positivity this documentary breeds is certainly refreshing given the usual negativity around this music genre. With 8 episodes at a little over an hour each, there’s a good amount of content to get through here and anyone remotely interested in music should absolutely check this one out.
Verdict - 8/10