Alexander Lendrum

Editorial curator, born and raised in Hong Kong.

Slideshow /

The Real Get Down: A Photo Series Documenting The Looks Of NYC’s Burgeoning Hip Hop Scene In The ’80s

Many of us (with a Netflix account, or a friend that has a Netflix account) would have at least seen the promos for the network channel’s major throwback project The Get Down: a drama-musical series set in New York City that harks back to the birth of hip hop. But while the show has since received a mixed bag of reviews, there’s no denying that the style sensibilities and overall aesthetic that the team has researched and put together is something to enjoy. However, are the looks and vibe of The Get Down accurate?

The real deal is actually much more vibrant, much more authentic to its swagger, and quite simply a whole lot cooler.

Sort of, but not really. While Netflix’s rendition of the 80’s and its blossoming hip hop culture (that has hit an all-time mainstream high in today’s landscape) is vibrant and nostalgic in the “Hollyweed” (whoops) “Hollywood” sense, the real deal is actually much more vibrant, much more authentic to its swagger, and quite simply a whole lot cooler (as is such when comparing what’s real with what’s fabricated). And thanks to Brooklyn-based Photographer Jamel Shabazz, we get a glimpse at the the real get down of NYC’s hip hop scene during the 1980s—sans the sing songs and Jaden Smith.

Growing up in the Big Apple, Shabazz was hitting the streets to capture its everyday essence since the ’70s, and thus was at the right place at the right time to be able to document such a prominent period in the much-hyped culture of hip hop. The candid nature of his images also does well to showcase the local vibe; a glimpse at what it was like back then for those of us who are looking in. Check out our selects from his series throughout, and head here to check out more from the photographer.

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Alexander Lendrum

Editorial curator, born and raised in Hong Kong.