T.I., Cardi B and Chance The Rapper. Picture: Netflix
T.I., Cardi B and Chance The Rapper. Picture: Netflix

Why you should watch 'Rhythm + Flow' even if you’re not a hip hop fan

By Jamal Grootboom Time of article published Oct 31, 2019

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The first four episodes of "Rhythm + Flow" were released on October 9 with subsequent episodes coming out the following two weeks 3 episodes at a time. 

When Netflix initially announced the show many people, including myself, were very skeptical about it. 

There have been many singing competition shows with moderate to great success. 
However, hip hop based shows have never really found their audience. Missy Elliot had a show back in the day, Rick Ross tired with “Signed” two years ago but overall they have mostly been one and done shows. Having little to no audience or contestants that were never heard of afterwards. 

Looking at the judging panel it seemed that "Rhythm + Flow" would suffer the same fate.

While I love Cardi B’s personality, it seemed that she hasn’t been in the hip hop game long enough to really critique other rappers, Chance The Rapper very much keeps to himself and T.I. is usually involved in some sort of online mess. Therefore, I was in no rush to watch the show since the trailers also didn’t really entice me to watch. 

It was only when a friend of mine said the show was good that I gave it a chance. And boy was I surprised. This show is one of the best new competition shows to make its debut. Mostly due to the dynamic between the judges. Cardi, T.I. and Chance have the type of chemistry we haven’t seen since the early seasons of "American Idol". 

They also all have a unique role they play on the show. Cardi looks at a contestant's potential of having a hit song and selling records. Chance looks at the artist as a whole and what they bring to the industry. While T.I. is checking for a contestant's flow, use of metaphors, ability to tell a story and overall rap technique - and it really works. 

The producers also did a great job with the structure of the show. Going from auditions, the rap battles and having the contestants make an original song with a video. They really give the contestants a good overall idea of what a modern rap star should be able to do. The casting of the show has been brilliant throughout. While there were still a lot of skrr skrr clones, who all rap at supersonic speed and can be replacements for any of the Gen Z rappers with colourfull dreads. These are mostly relegated to short inserts with no real screen time. 

The majority of the show is spent on giving up-and-coming rappers that actually have a unique style and more to talk about than just money, drugs and b*tches. I’m not a hip hop head in any way shape or form, but I do enjoy my fair share of hip hop music (mostly female rappers but we’re not talking about the issue of misogyny in hip hop today). 

This show really is enjoyable and not just for people who only listen to the Travis Scotts of the world. 

I still need to watch the final three episodes and I can’t wait to binge-watch them.

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