“Hip Hop Uncovered” Episode 1 and 2 Review

Story posted February 18, 2021 in Arts & Entertainment by Paul Martin.

In an attempt to tell the story of hip hop “from the streets up,” the first two episodes of “Hip Hop Uncovered” do very little discussing the topic that the show's title derives from. 

For the first two episodes, we are introduced to a parade of characters who have supposedly helped usher in rap's most famous stars, even though their role is not clearly identified to the viewer. While these roles may be specified in later episodes, this makes watching the first two episodes mildly confusing to those who don’t know these people’s roles before watching the show. 

This is not to say that the show is not an enjoyable watch. The slew of hustlers and drug kingpins the show introduces the characters to offer a plethora of interesting stories that show just how neglected and dangerous urban life was during the 1980’s.

Through this dangerous life, the show illustrates, is what laid the groundwork for rap to blossom as a representation of the streets to a living embodiment of it. As street gangs started to emerge, so did the burgeoning genre of rap music.

This makes sense as to why the two are inexplicably linked at the hip. One of the highlights of the first two episodes is the discussion of how the first rap song “Rapper’s Delight” was funded by someone so closely associated with the mob.

Aside from this, the main subject of the show is not hip hop, but rather the invisible hands who elevated certain artists to rap stardom. The show revolves around five hustlers who come from New York, Los Angeles, and Detroit and how their experiences navigating the streets ultimately led them to be able to understand the rap game so well.

While these people no doubt have very interesting stories, viewers watching for an oral explanation of the history of rap will probably be turned off. As opposed to Netflix’s “Hip Hop Evolution,” which does a stellar job documenting hip hop’s influence and rise in the public, “Hip Hop Uncovered” puts more of a lens on the crime and violence that fueled the meteoric rise of the genre in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

It will be interesting to see how the next few episodes of “Hip Hop Uncovered” play out as we continue to learn more about these people’s influence on the genre, but what is clear is that hip hop and the streets are inexplicably linked, even if you already knew that.

Rating 3/5

Paul Martin is a junior majoring in telecommunications and media studies. To contact him, email at phm5095@psu.edu

About the Contributors

Paul Martin's photo

Paul Martin