Narcos Supplies the Raw Power & Grit of the Purest Form of Hip-Hop (Video)

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Since Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s seminal 1982 song, “The Message,” Hip-Hop, in its purest form has been a window into worlds otherwise unseen. It was that raw and uncut reporting that catapulted acts like N.W.A. and Public Enemy, with their commentary on their respective worlds, as well as later acts like Nas, Black Star, Eminem, 50 Cent, J. Cole, Run the Jewels and Kendrick Lamar. Hip-Hop is at its most powerful and resonant when it comes from a place of deep authenticity, no matter what that reflection shows. Oprah Winfrey, who became a billionaire by speaking from her place of truth, once said of it “we all know the truth when we hear it.”

One world with which Hip-Hop has been consistently fascinated for decades is that of drug cartels. In fact, more than 240 songs make reference to Pablo Escobar, one of the most notorious cartel leaders, or “narcos,” the world has ever seen. Unlike songs where artists commentate on what they’ve actually witnessed in their own lives, however, the vast majority of these songs contain false stories about affiliations with narcos and often glorify them as antiheroes. The songs are more fantasy than reality rap, and while they may be entertaining, they did not penetrate like the truth. However, that all changed on August 28, 2015.

On that day, Netflix released their new original series Narcos, which is based on the story of Pablo Escobar and the DEA agents who took him down. From the outset, the show feels deeply authentic. It was shot on location in Colombia, where the story takes place, and is largely spoken in Spanish. While Escobar is shown as an intelligent and ambitious force with which to be reckoned, he also is depicted as savagely brutal, controlling and paranoid to a fault. Some of his acts of violence leave even the most hardened TV viewers feeling unsettled. In the 4 weeks since its release, the show has quickly penetrated the cultural zeitgeist and has already been renewed for a second season, based on its success.

Here’s a look a the trailer.

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