Last week, The Knockturnal caught up with the cast of The Get Down to discuss what to expect in part 2.
Last Wednesday, Irving Plaza hosted The Get Down Part 2 Kick Off Party with the entire cast, Baz Luhrmann, Nas and many more. The party had a photo booth, free food and cocktails and miniature vinyls for guests to take home. The cast even had a little dance off at the end of the night showcasing their upcoming dance moves from part 2. Picking up where part 1 left off, we find Books, Shaolin and Mylene in more dramatic dilemmas, struggling to become adults in part 2. Part 2 is now available to stream on Netflix. The Get Down Part 2 soundtrack featuring Alessia Cara, 6LACK, DJ Cassidy, Grace, Lil Yachty, Nas and the cast will be available April 14th.
We spoke with Justice and Baz about the musical influences of the show, the history and balancing the classics with the contemporary artists. Shameik Moore told us that he’s gearing up to release his next mixtape. We also learned from Baz that Netflix is currently looking to hire someone to take over his role in hopes of making season 2 a reality. To find out more check out our interview below:
Can you talk about the biggest creative shift from part 1 to part 2?
In part 1 they’re all just kids and very naïve and part 2 is much darker, more dramatic. The kids go from doing hip hop in the streets for free to going into the clubs in 78 and with the clubs come gangsters and drugs and difficulties and complications and so there’s that. There’s a tragic loss of life, but I won’t say who. There’s also the surprise of animation which comes from a certain character and so it’s deeper more complicated, but in the first episode we focus on really setting up the world, now the world’s set up and we really focus on the relationship between Books and Mylene and Shaolin and what it means to be a kid and a young adult growing up in a world and going will I follow my career? Will I stay with my boyfriend? There’s love and there’s loss and there’s revelation so there’s a whole lot more drama actually and a hell of a lot of music.
How do you balance bringing in music from that time period and balancing that with original music?
That’s a really good question because I didn’t want it to be like a photocopy so we have –if you look at a list of the music we’ve got, we’re gonna put it online – we have everybody on their from The Jacksons to James Brown, we also have new works, some surprising new, very famous artists who I can’t announce now, but next week. We’ve got some of our old collaborators like Sia who’s written songs and the idea is that some of them are very close and some of them are not. Some of them are well that was hip hop then now here’s hiphop now or that is disco then, here’s disco now so quite often we’re drawing the line between the two points. And I want you understand why using the new music – how sexy, exciting, popular, and youthful that music was when they first heard James Brown. So rather than being a museum piece, it’s the best of the museum and the best of now.
Without giving too much away, what was your favorite episode from part 2?
like the second to last one, just because it’s only great numbers and its pretty dramatic.
There’s not officially a second season we’re not sure yet, but I did read something that you’re looking for someone to kind of take over?
Yeah, what it is, is this: to do “The Get Down” I have to contractually put off movies that I agreed to do and now I can’t put them off, so I’d be so happy if Netflix found someone they were happy with to do the main job, but I’ll still work on it, but I can’t be there day in and day out. They’re trying to find someone; they desperately want to do it so if they can find someone they’re happy with, I’ll back them. So it’s all up to Netflix, go petition them.
How much hip hop education did you have before you started filming?
None, really none. Hip hop is popular and very pervasive, so I knew some music from the radio, like everyone knows one rap song that they know all the lyrics to, but not at all to the extent that I do now. Honestly didn’t even know where it came from. I’m almost ashamed of how much I did not know about hip hop. I didn’t know about the pioneers of hip hop before, but now I know more than the average person. I would say a long time.
How long was the education process?
A while, I mean as soon as I got the job I basically filled my Spotify with just hip hop just because I had to be immersed in the culture and then I started to focus on specifically 70s hip hop and then when we started pre-production, we had all these rehearsals working with Kurtis Blow and Rahiem from The Furious Five and Grandmaster Flash and dance and history lessons and all this kind of stuff to really get us informed and comfortable with the material.
When you first signed on did you think it was going to blow up the way it did? Obviously Nas was producing it and so many people backing it, but did you think it would become this phenomenon?
No, actually there was a lot of hype while we were shooting it like we knew it was going to be really good and I never doubted it was going to be great, but everyone was like when this comes out you’re not going to be able to walk down the street, it’s going to be the biggest thing and that frightened me so I stayed inside for 3 days after the premiere because I was afraid, but then I started to go outside and it was normal, people just came up to me and said they liked the show, but I remember I was afraid of it changing my life forever.
What’s the biggest change we’re going see in your character from part 1 to part 2?
Zeke gets a lot more confident, more passionate about his music. He’s also getting better at balancing his love life with his music life with his work life and his professional life, but at the same time that’s not necessarily a good thing, because he’s not listening to his heart. He’s kind of just trying to please everybody else so it becomes rocky for him.
Who’s the coolest person you’ve met since you started filming?
Grandmaster Caz, I love The Cold Crush Brothers.
Who are your favorite rappers from the 70s and contemporary rappers?
Grandmaster Caz, The Cold Crush Brothers, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Kurtis Blow, I could go on and on. One of my favorite rap groups is called Digable Planets, they’re from the 80s and 90s. Modern day rappers, I love Chance the Rapper I think he’s revolutionary. Kendrick Lamar is revolutionary and I’ve noticed, now that I know so much about the origins of hip hop, those rappers specifically are paying homage to how rap is culture and how it’s supposed to change the way people think so I appreciate that.
Are you excited for Kendrick’s album to drop?
Yes! So excited!
What’s the biggest difference in your character from part 1 to part 2?
You start learning about his past. Why he moves the way he moves.
What was your favorite scene to film from part 2?
Probably this dance battle scene that’s coming up.
Are you working on any other projects?
Yeah, I have a mixtape coming out Worth The Risk May 4th