Posts Tagged ‘2016’


Gene Wilder Dead

August 29, 2016

Gene Wilder, who regularly stole the show in such comedic gems as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Stir Crazy,” died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83.

His nephew said in a statement, “We understand for all the emotional and physical challenges this situation presented we have been among the lucky ones — this illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality. The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him “there’s Willy Wonka,” would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.

He continued to enjoy art, music, and kissing with his leading lady of the last twenty-five years, Karen. He danced down a church aisle at a wedding as parent of the groom and ring bearer, held countless afternoon movie western marathons and delighted in the the company of beloved ones.”


Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Celebrities React to Gene Wilder’s Death

He had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1989.

The comic actor, who was twice Oscar nominated, for his role in “The Producers” and for co-penning “Young Frankenstein” with Mel Brooks, usually portrayed a neurotic who veered between total hysteria and dewy-eyed tenderness. “My quiet exterior used to be a mask for hysteria,” he told Time magazine in 1970. “After seven years of analysis, it just became a habit.”

Habit or not, he got a great deal of mileage out of his persona in the 1970s for directors like Mel Brooks and Woody Allen, leading to a few less successful stints behind the camera, the best of which was “The Woman in Red,” co-starring then-wife Gilda Radner. Wilder was devastated by Radner’s death from ovarian cancer in 1989 and worked only intermittently after that. He tried his hand briefly at a sitcom in 1994, “Something Wilder,” and won an Emmy in 2003 for a guest role on “Will & Grace.”

His professional debut came in Off Broadway’s “Roots” in 1961, followed by a stint on Broadway in Graham Greene’s comedy “The Complaisant Lover,” which won him a Clarence Derwent Award as promising newcomer. His performance in the 1963 production of Brecht’s “Mother Courage” was seen by Mel Brooks, whose future wife, Anne Bancroft, was starring in the production; a friendship with Brooks would lead to some of Wilder’s most successful film work. For the time being, however, Wilder continued to work onstage, in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1963 and “Dynamite Tonight” and “The White House” the following year. He then understudied Alan Arkin and Gabriel Dell in “Luv,” eventually taking over the role.

Wilder also worked in television in 1962’s “The Sound of Hunting,” “The Interrogators,” “Windfall” and in the 1966 TV production of “Death of a Salesman” with Lee J. Cobb. He later starred in TV movies including “Thursday’s Game” and the comedy-variety special “Annie and the Hoods,” both in 1974.

In 1967 Wilder essayed his first memorable bigscreen neurotic, Eugene Grizzard, a kidnapped undertaker in Arthur Penn’s classic “Bonnie and Clyde.”

Then came “The Producers,” in which he played the hysterical Leo Bloom, an accountant lured into a money bilking scheme by a theatrical producer played by Zero Mostel. Directed and written by Brooks, the film brought Wilder an Oscar nomination as best supporting actor. With that, his film career was born.

He next starred in a dual role with Donald Sutherland in “Start the Revolution Without Me,” in which he displayed his fencing abilities. It was followed by another middling comedy, “Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx,” also in 1970.

In 1971 he stepped into the shoes of Willy Wonka, one of his most beloved and gentle characters. Based on the children’s book by Roald Dahl, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” was not an immediate hit but became a children’s favorite over the years. The same cannot be said for the 1974 Stanley Donen-directed musical version of “The Little Prince,” in which Wilder appeared as the fox. He had somewhat better luck in Woody Allen’s spoof “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex,” appearing in a hilarious segment in which he played a doctor who falls in love with a sheep named Daisy.

Full-fledged film stardom came with two other Brooks comedies, both in 1974: Western spoof “Blazing Saddles” and a wacko adaptation of Mary Shelley’s famous book entitled “Young Frankenstein,” in which Wilder portrayed the mad scientist with his signature mixture of hysteria and sweetness.

Working with Brooks spurred Wilder to write and direct his own comedies, though none reached the heights of his collaborations with Brooks. The first of these was “The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother” (1975), in which he included such Brooks regulars as Madeline Kahn and Marty Feldman. It was followed by 1977’s “The World’s Greatest Lover,” which he also produced.

Wilder fared better, however, when he was working solely in front of the camera, particularly in a number of films in which he co-starred with Richard Pryor.

The first of these was 1976’s “Silver Streak,” a spoof of film thrillers set on trains; 1980’s “Stir Crazy” was an even bigger hit, grossing more than $100 million. Wilder and Pryor’s two other pairings, “See No Evil, Hear No Evil” and “Another You,” provided diminishing returns, however.

While filming “Hanky Panky” in 1982, Wilder met “Saturday Night Live” comedienne Radner. She became his third wife shortly thereafter. Wilder and Radner co-starred in his most successful directing stint, “The Woman in Red” in 1984, and then “Haunted Honeymoon.” But Radner grew ill with cancer, and he devoted himself to her care, working sporadically after that and hardly at all after her death in 1989.

In the early ’90s he appeared in his last film with Pryor and another comedy, “Funny About Love.” In addition to the failed TV series “Something Wilder” in 1994, he wrote and starred in the A&E mystery telepics “The Lady in Question” and “Murder in a Small Town” in 1999. He also appeared as the Mock Turtle in a 1999 NBC adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland.”

He last acted in a couple of episodes of “Will and Grace” in 2002-03 as Mr. Stein, winning an Emmy.

He was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee and began studying acting at the age of 12. After getting his B.A. from the U. of Iowa in 1955, Wilder enrolled in the Old Vic Theater school in Bristol, where he learned acting technique and fencing. When he returned to the U.S. he taught fencing and did other odd jobs while studying with Herbert Berghof’s HB Studio and at the Actors Studio under Lee Strasberg.

Wilder’s memoir “Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art” was published in 2005. After that he wrote fiction: the 2007 novel “My French Whore”; 2008’s “The Woman Who Wouldn’t”; a collection of stories, “What Is This Thing Called Love?,” in 2010; and the novella “Something to Remember You By: A Perilous Romance” in 2013.

Wilder was interviewed by Alec Baldwin for the one-hour TCM documentary “Role Model: Gene Wilder” in 2008. The actor was also active in raising cancer awareness in the wake of Radner’s death.

He is survived by his fourth wife Karen Boyer, whom he married in 1991 and his nephew. His sister Corinne, predeceased him in January 2016.



The cultural icon who has quite possibly the most impressive résumé in music today is adding another job to the list: internet radio host. Questlove (born Ahmir Thompson), founding member of the Legendary Roots Crew, NYU professor, “Tonight Show” bandleader, New York Times bestselling author, international DJ, Grammy winner, “Hamilton” producer, and occasional actor has found the time to enter the streaming-entertainment market alongside Pandora, the music-streaming service which debuted over a decade ago, in 2005. The partnership has been in the making for a while, but today (August 24), it culminates with the announcement of “Questlove Supreme.”

questlove supreme

Launching on September 7 at 1pm EST, Questo’s new program is described by the New York Times as a weekly “three-hour program with wide-ranging playlists and guests” which ” shows off its host’s eclectic tastes.” Thompson himself describes it as “the Black nerd version of NPR” and an unofficial extension of his New York University courses. The marriage of Thompson and Pandora is, in part, an effort to “compete directly with Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal,” as reported by the Times’ Ben Sisario. It’s a major offensive move by the internet-radio juggernaut who at times has “has clashed with the music industry in the past.” By merging creative forces with Quest, Pandora has aligned itself with one of the most beloved figures in pop culture.

It’s a major win for music fans, too (not the mention Hip-Hop Heads and Roots fans). While icons like Q-Tip and Sway have used internet radio to host conversations that go beyond music, Questlove’s show will be following a unique format. Firstly, it will be three-hours long, giving whatever music is played and whatever discussion is inspired a chance to breathe. Context will likely be a major player on “Questlove Supreme,” where the history of songs and their creators will be given the kind of encyclopedic attention Thompson is known for. Secondly, the music featured each week will be inspired by the topics discussed and not the other way around (which is by and large the formula for most shows of this nature). Questlove will be matching the thematic elements of any given week’s topic by including songs that help illustrate the concepts at hand, a process that will likely become as inventive a history lesson as the “Hamilton” Broadway play in which he is so heavily involved.

The show has been described as “a weekly ride through the global musical landscape featuring adventurous music selections, compelling conversations and revealing interviews with music lovers from the entertainment industry and beyond,” and there is no better guide for such a ride than the man with such a diverse list of accomplishments. Heads will have interviews with the likes of Bob Power to look forward to. The selection of the veteran sound man (whose work on seminal classics like A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory has made him a legend) as an inaugural guest is indicative of the exceptional curation and thought that will go into to each and every episode. Questlove himself has made it known that to prepare for each installment, he listens to over 200 songs. And it’s that kind of unbounded dedication that makes him an exemplary choice to steer Pandora in its next direction. “Pandora is a company born of a musician’s experience” with a “deep respect for the craft of music and a commitment to the musicians that make it their living,” says Quest.

From The Roots To ‘Roots’: Questlove To Handle Music For Alex Haley Remake

The company’s co-founder, Tim Westergren, described the partnership with Quest as being emblematic of the fact that Pandora is “entering into a new phase” in which they “are working more directly with labels and artists.” As such, Westergren said of the partnership with Thompson, “having someone like him bridge that and speak on our behalf is really powerful.” But the relationship is far from one-sided. After all, Pandora “has long been the most popular internet radio service, and it is one of a handful of digital music brands that have become household names,” writes Sisario. However, the company hasn’t increased its peak number of average monthly listeners since 2014, when 81.5 million people tuned in.

To address such concerns, Pandora “plans to introduce a multitiered new service that, in addition to its basic radio version, will add levels of on-demand access — the ability for customers to listen to any song they want — for prices of up to $10 a month.” “Questlove Supreme” is an introductory offering into that type of dynamic content. On his first episode, longtime friend and superstar comedian Maya Rudolph will join Thompson (as will Power). The inaugural installment will be the first chapter in what he describes as “a commitment deeper than any girlfriend I’ve ever had.” But his show is just one facet of his partnership with Pandora. Unsurprisingly, the endlessly affable personality is also functioning as an ambassador, a duty which involves his “evangelizing for the service among fellow artists.”


This is an identifying facet that could prove to be Pandora’s secret weapon. “Pandora is eager to promote the marketing platforms it makes available to artists, such as audio messages that can be delivered to fans and detailed data about the popularity of particular songs,” reports Sisario.

Questlove Goes On A Quest For Musical Culture In Cuba (Video)

For Heads already counting down the days until September 7, Questlove offered up a glimpse of his artistic vision for the show. “I want a world in which Drake’s ‘One Dance’ can also live with Frank Zappa’s Uncle Meat can live with James Brown’s ‘Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing.’” For even more of an introduction, check out this celebratory mix created by the man himself.

Release date: August 24th, 2016!!!!!!!!!



You have to give it up to Patrick Ewing for going such an untraditional route in regards to his sneaker game during his playing career. Once sponsored by powerhouse adidas, Pat decided to start his own imprint known as Ewing Athletics. What resulted was some iconic towering high-tops with chunky midsoles and plenty of ankle support that perfectly represented the dominance of big men in the late 80s and early 90s NBA. His most popular model, the Ewing 33 Hi, has since returned as a lifestyle classic esthipecially in New York City, but given its heavy build doesn’t necessarily make for a summer go-to.

Ewing Athletics is chaning that though with the summer-fiendly Ewing 33 Hi “Turquoise Suede”. The casual take outfits the basketball retro in a premium monochromatic suede build featuring an aquatic-themed turquoise shade with clean white accents throughout. This Ewing 33 Hi will be available on August 24th for $120 USD.

Source: Ewing Athletics

Ewing 33 Hi “Turquoise Suede”

Color: Turquoise/Turquoise-White
Release Date: August 24, 2016
Price: $120


50 Cent Gets Big Meech Blessing For B.M.F. TV Series

50 Cent is going to keep flexing with an official Big Meech blessing for his latest endeavor, a TV series sharing the story of the B.M.F. drug empire.

The rap mogul shared a handwritten letter from the B.M.F. leader to his Instagram page with the caption, “Read carefully, I’m not playing no games. BMF COMING SOON!!!#EFFENVODKA #FRIGO.”

In the note, Big Meech, born Demetrius Flenory, gives his blessing for 50 Cent and Randall Emmett to produce the show, which is slated to appear on Starz, the same network that hosts “Power.” The leader cites the success of the record-breaking show as one reason he trusts them with their latest venture.

“I feel that the two of you are the perfect team to tell ‘my story,’” he says.

He continues that he has not approved of any other attempt to tell the B.M.F. narrative and that it would be impossible for anyone to paint the complete picture without his co-sign.

“I’m the only one that can tell the B.M.F. & Big Meech story,” he says, “so any person or persons trying to do a film is ‘100% faking.’ ‘Loyalty’ is not just a word it’s a ‘lifestyle.’ ‘Death b4 dishonor.’”

B.M.F. established itself through a cocaine empire in the 1990s that stretched from Los Angeles to Atlanta. The B.M.F. brand spawned a record label, B.M.F. Entertainment, which worked with Jay Z, Jeezy and others. Big Meech and other execs, including his brother “Southwest T” Flenory, were arrested in 2005. The brothers are now serving 30-year prison sentences.


See the entire letter of 50 Cent getting Big Meech’s blessing for the B.M.F. project below.

by Victoria Hernandez

Action Bronson's El Gran Combo Lawsuit Dismissed

Good news for one rapper this morning as Action Bronson’s El Gran Combo lawsuit has been dismissed, according to

Music publishing companies Cartagena Enterprises and Rico Records filed paperwork August 17 to have the case dismissed. Bronson’s legal team signed off on the documents, implying that the parties reached some sort of settlement.

The companies took Action Bronson to court a year ago, claiming he sampled two El Gran Combo songs without getting clearance: “Falsaria” for “Mofongo” and “Trampolin” on “Tapas.” They said proof of his knowledge of using the group’s work came in a 2011 Twitter post where he comments about “Falsaria” and a 2014 interview where he says he listens to El Gran Combo while cooking.

Bronson fired back after the initial lawsuit was filed, saying that the companies did not own the rights to the music in question and that according to the statute of limitations, they waited too long to bring their case to court.

Well, the New York MC can focus on rapping and cooking and acting jolly as the El Gran Combo lawsuit has been dismissed. Watch his “Fuck That’s Delicious” show on Viceland.

Season 2 of the show is expected soon.

Back in January, Torae released his Entitled album. One of the focal points to that self-released LP was “Get Down.” First unveiled almost a year ago, the song is the latest run-in the Brooklyn, New York MC had with producer Pete Rock. A lot was at play in the beat, a great way for the MC/radio host/actor to slam his day-in-the-life bars, as he has for more than a decade.

In the dog days of summer, it’s the perfect time for the remix. Here, Torae recruits The LOX’s Styles P and State Property’s Freeway to call back to the mid-2000s feel that aligns with his message in the music. Torae redid his whole verse to update fans on his career (appearing in VH1’s The Breaks), allude to the importance of P.R. remixes, and mention DJ Clue and LOX tapes of old. Fans looking for exciting music in Rap get this remix, with three MCs out to show their best stuff on one of Pete’s best beats.

Torae’s Pete Rock-Produced Single Is A Testimony To His Paid Dues (Video)

The only time I took an L VH1 cut a check.” – Torae

Alan the Chemist and Roc Marciano have been frequent collaborators since the latter dropped his 2010 debut album, Marcberg. The Hempstead, New York MC is now the latest to hop on Alchemist’s Craft Singles series, in which the famed producer drops a loosie featuring different rappers with each installment. Thus far, he’s dropped joints with a list of varying talent including ScHoolboy Q, MC Eiht & Spice One, Blu, Migos and Mac Miller. But there’s an undeniable symbiosis in ALC’s work with Roc that continues to inspire high-quality Hip-Hop, and today’s release is no exception.

Prodigy & AlcKhemist Unlock Mystical Jewels For Those Who Can Crack The Code (Audio)

“All For It” pits the longtime duo right in the pocket where they’ve found much success. The production is plush in parts and less adorned in others, and features a piano riff that haunts in the best kind of way. Rapping about “putting a new hole in your culo,” Roc Marci makes the grim pleasurable and with an unimposing hook, there’s no frilly fanfare to take away from the bars.

“All For It” – and all of Alchemist’s Craft Singles releases – are available for sale in 45-inch vinyl format from his website. This particular collab is available for pre-order ahead of its September 23 arrival.


by Ural Garrett

Nelson George On “The Get Down” & Early Days Of Hip Hop Journalism

One would be hard-pressed to find a music journalist with as much first-hand experience reporting the early days of Hip Hop like Nelson George. The culture was once considered a fad, or even a nuisance, for some. But George had enough foresight to understand its staying power and he’s benefited significantly from it.

Over the years, he’s evolved into one of black music’s great storytellers. Authoring dozens of books including the captivating D Hunter Mysteries series, George is known for his work on both the small and silver screen. Let’s be honest here, he produced and co-wrote CB4, the film that, decades later, is still seen as prophesying a certain Florida-correctional-officer-turned-drug-lord-on-wax. These examples are just a small part of such an extraordinary career.

Flexing his godlike knowledge of Hip Hop’s early years coming out of the Disco era, he’s serving as producer, writer and consultant for Netflix’s upcoming series “The Get Down.” Set to premiere August 12, the show is set in the late 1970s and follows young adults who are attempting to survive the South Bronx amid a culture rooted in the streets that couldn’t have cared less about the mainstream. Other rap legends ranging from DJ Kool Herc to Nas are serving as supervisors as well.

Speaking with DX, Nelson George explains blending real history with fiction for “The Get Down” and writing about Hip Hop when most people didn’t care.

HipHopDX: On social media a few weeks ago you said the same spot where you guys had the press for “The Get Down” was also the same spot you had the one for CB4 20 years ago.

Nelson George: Back then, it was the Bel Age Hotel. Different name but, it’s the same building and same structure. I didn’t realize when we were in there but, then I realized that movie came out in March 1993 and I believe the press junket was in February that year. CB4 was a Hip Hop movie that was pretty early on. To think that I would still be working in TV until forward times later. Actually, revisiting Hip Hop is a subject. it’s quite amazing. Twenty some odd years or more than that, I’m only grateful to be still working and still being involved. It says a lot about Hip Hop. When we did that movie, we were trying to deal with the fun part of it, the LA Gangsta rap and how that had taken off. This goes way back, way past that. Through the 1990s and 1970s. It’s a rich story, a long history.

DX: With the history of your career, did you ever think that people would be interested in Hip Hop this long to go back this far?

Nelson George: Believe me, I look back and read a lot of my old articles — I think an article from 1980 or 1981 that I did where I basically talked about the new generation. I would say I saw it like I thought it would be like. The new generation, I liked it, and then it becomes older. Older people would like it. But we didn’t know, no one could know if Hip Hop could reinvent itself. And from what it was in 1980 and 1981, it’s unrecognizable in many ways now to what it is now. It’s managed to continue to evolve as a music, as a rap style as clothes, as a dance thing. In every aspect, the thing about Hip Hop that is so remarkable is that it continues to evolve, it doesn’t stay still. Some musical movements, it locks into a hold and never improves from it. This one has a huge improvement.

DX: You mentioned Hip Hop has evolved, although Hip Hop has evolved, especially considering the history you know, are there things that still remain the same within the culture from your point of view?

Nelson George: Well, I mean it’s youth culture. It’s always been youth culture so that hasn’t changed. I think that basically at its core, Hip Hop is someone lining vocals over beats primarily. For the most part that’s still true. The style is dramatically different and the beats are really different. It used to be very simple. Someone speaking in presentation over rhythm. So, the core is that and it’s advancing. The fact that Hip Hop is also an incubator of dance style. The essence of it, even the format has evolved.

DX: Do you remember the first time actually covering Hip Hop? I remember when I saw you speak some time ago, you said it wasn’t even called Hip Hop.

Nelson George: The first thing that I wrote that we called it Hip Hop was in 1978. A friend out of a record store, we talked about these DJs buying records in bulk. They would buy 20, 30, 50 records. This one kid would be performing in the school yard. It was DJ Kool Herc. What was interesting about it, disco was big. That’s been the main. White Disco, Black Disco, Latin Disco and so on. What he was playing was different than anybody else and how everyone was dancing was different than everybody else. So, it’s what made me write about it. He was playing a record called “Bongo Rock” — basically a bongo band record. I knew that this was a new thing. I knew a difference from any other that Harlem and Brooklyn or Queens. That would be it, the very first time. I also, in that same year, saw DJ Hollywood perform in Harlem. Cutting up beats and playing parts of records in ways I haven’t heard before. The first times I remember it’s live form. I never forget that day, seeing Herc.

DX: What was it like writing about it? How did everybody else, especially your peers that were covering other genres look at Hip Hop at that time?

Nelson George: I was covering Black music, that’s what I was always covering. So this is just one part I was writing about. I wrote about Motown, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross and others. Most Black adults didn’t hear about Hip Hop. That meant that most of these Black editors that I ran into are of older Black writers who didn’t get it, didn’t care about it and thought it was crap. That was pretty much the attitude for it. Really for a long time until the late ’80s. I remember having a conversation with the editor. I think the rap records were the ’80s. I talk to this Black editor in a magazine, he was never ever having that in his publication. He just thought it was garbage. That was the attitude.

It wasn’t until really the people who were younger than me had grew up on it, survived it. A lot of what I was doing, or Harry Allen was doing. So other writers who were writing about Hip Hop, it was super inspiring. I saw somewhere. I wrote an article I tried to send to The New York Times in 1982 and they said that they had no interest in. And yes here I am, I just did an interview with The New York Times the other day. They did an article on ‘The Get Down.’ This is a new thing that is literally said that they didn’t care about it 30 years ago. That’s what I remember, a lot of gatekeepers — black and white — not being interested or thinking no one wanted to hear about it.

Without Disco, There’s No Hip Hop

DX: I remember reading an article saying that you were attracted to the fact that they chose the 70s Disco era. Disco is sort of a punchline, then with the “Disco Sucks” movement, and now. How important was it to the birth of early Hip Hop from your perspective?

Nelson George: There is no Hip Hop without Disco, period. Black people went to Disco and Black people loved Disco. Every bar in Harlem and Brooklyn had a disco ball, every club. So the difference between the Hip Hop thing and the Disco thing was really just age. To get into a club, you had to be of drinking age. So Disco clubs, even if you were a young guy or a young girl, you had to dress up and act your age, so to speak. Hip Hop was happening in rec centers, it was happening in schoolyards and parks. So there’s a generation divide that was separating that. And, then you dressed up. Black people were very much into being upscale.

Remember, this is ten years passed the civil rights movement. So Black people were like, we want to move up in the world, we’re not trying to act like we’re connected to the streets. We want to drink Courvoisier, we want to have Grand Marnier. We want to wear fancy outfits, we want to look good. We’re not interested in dressing down, we dress up. So that was the aesthetic that everyone aspired to, even to the Black Disco in New York in the 70s. Guys were really showing out. The idea that I want to go to the club and wear sneakers, sweatpants and sweat suits and a baseball cap was like WHAT!? They weren’t feeling that.

Hip Hop wasn’t just a musical change, it was a cultural change in how people dressed and how people thought going out or what looking good looked like. It was a style battle. Actually, that’s ironic of course as a lot of the diamonds, jewelry and that goes back to the Disco era. All the gold, the diamonds, pinky rings. Hustlers wore pinky rings. I think people try to act like there’s this big wall that happened and Hip Hop came and killed all that stuff. Hip Hop was an evolution to a new thing. Those things came back around.

The whole puffy, shiny suit era and that whole thing is very Disco. A lot of what I see fashion-wise is disco. Every era loves to dress up, go dancing, look good and floss. It’s a matter of degree and aesthetics. I think the generational thing is that people don’t really understand. So by 1982 and 1983, they’re adults. They can get into clubs. And slowly they’ve been getting changing with club play. Now they’re buying drinks at the bar and now they’re ordering bottles. Over time, the clubs that they like, the music that they like, took over the nightlife.

In New York, Disco records were records by groups that played a D-Train and even Michael Jackson. These weren’t called Disco records, but Dance records on the R&B station. They went out of style for new skin or the new kind of music. If you were at an old school Hip Hop night in New York there’s going to be a lot of stuff from that style with the 808 drum machine style that’s playing next to Hip Hop records.

DX: So do you see the blur that’s happening now with EDM and Hip Hop as similar to how Disco led to Hip Hop? Is there a correlation there?

Nelson George: I think it’s from House Music. House music is the influence on EDM. And House comes out of Disco. House is absolutely the child of disco. Because what you had in Disco, a lot with gospel trained singers, singing dance beats. Then House music became an evolution out of that. When you see rappers rapping over EDM beats, it’s just an extension of the ideas. It’s dance music. People like putting their rhymes over a beat. That was in any form. Even in the height of Hip Hop you have things like C+C Music Factory. There’s always been the dance music from calling it. There’s always been non-bashful artists who took advantage of the street under Hip Hop in giving self-expression.

DX: What was the most difficult thing in ensuring that “The Get Down” got right in regards to that era?

Nelson George: It’s not one thing, it’s a lot of things. Every time we go to a script, you talk about what color are they wearing or is the slang in the show right. We had a lot of conversations about slang and trying to find the right slang for the period. Telling the young actors not to use things like ‘lit’ or ‘all the way up’ it wasn’t like that back then. So we had to keep that right, making sure they were making the right references. It’s the little things that mean a lot. It’s very tough when you do 12 shows and trying to make sure every little thing is right. That’s what we’re trying to do. That was a big challenge, trying to make sure that they would be like the kids in ’77. Someone talking about where they bought their sneakers, what sneakers would they go for, what sneakers were they wearing, what’s a fly car.

Nelson George Explains Blending History With Fiction & The Future Of “The Get Down”

DX: One of the things I think you’re amazing at is taking history and blending it with fiction. How exactly did you make the balance between the reality at the time and the original stories?

Nelson George: Well, we did a lot of laps. There was a giant timeline of music as in New York. For example, anybody who knows Hip Hop history knows that the blackout was a huge event in Hip Hop because it allowed so many kids to access the turntables, the records and all the equipment. It was stolen. So suddenly you went from having a few people like Herc having equipment, to having a bunch of DJ crews all over the city. So, we use that as a historical event. I think it happened Episode 3. So, we’re using the history to help you to understand how the characters would be. Have a good grounding in what happened, then you can build your story around those things. We couldn’t do this show without filming the blackout.

DX: What’s the plan for “The Get Down” in terms of how far you plan to take the timeline in Hip Hop?

Nelson George: The first season is going from 1977-1978. And then will probably pick up in the ’80s. So, I don’t even know if the kids will make a record. The show is fresh because it’s giving you stuff you haven’t seen before. You seen Krush Groove in 1984, so we are in no rush. Maybe the second season we show to ’79. This is pretty wide open, it’s a great advantage to find an era of Hip Hop that’s totally under-documented.

DX: Will the show eventually broaden out to Hip Hop’s reach on a national level?

Nelson George: I don’t know, we’ll see. I’m really following these kids. If the kids got it, then they travel you see that. We’re trying to keep it grounded. The show works because it’s really their view … We don’t know where their careers will go.

DX: Is there another period of Hip Hop that interests you outside of the ’70s and ’80s? Is there another one that sticks in your mind?

Nelson George: I would say from 1986 or 1987 to 1989 in New York with Rakim, KRS-One, Public Enemy and Big Daddy Kane era because I was still covering music full time. I was writing my book on Hip Hop. I’m just amazed how much more sophisticated the rhyming became, and how political it became. Also the crack era, so that’s affecting the storytelling, it’s affecting how everyone views everything. The politics of the era, also the anti-apartheid movement was going on. It’s something very dynamic because it was dynamic culturally.