‘Rhythm + Flow’ Review: Netflix’s Hip-Hop Reality Series Is Essential Viewing

Collider | 10/14/2019 | Gregory Lawrence
joyy (Posted by) Level 3
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If you’re into hip-hop, you must watch Rhythm + Flow. It’s as simple as that. Netflix’s new hip-hop talent competition reality show is pure catnip for hip-hop heads. From the murderer’s row of established talent working as judges, to the relatable conversations the would-be superstars have (you’ve definitely debated who the greatest rappers are with your friends, and you will shout at the TV when they do), Rhythm + Flow is an impeccably constructed, refreshingly unsanitized contribution to hip-hop culture. Are you not as plugged into hip-hop? Watch anyway. You’ll still find something to flow with.

The formula for Rhythm + Flow is, in some ways, well-tread territory. While guest judge Snoop Dogg announces “This ain’t The Voice, ****” within minutes of the first episode, folks familiar with The Voice, or any other talent-based reality show, will find familiarity in Rhythm + Flow’s formula. Contestants appear before regular judges T.I., Chance the Rapper, Cardi B, and an onslaught of dope guest judges to show off their sweetest 16s, stickiest hooks, and illest stage presence. We also get slices of each contestant’s personal life and struggles, expanding the “narrative scope” beyond the stage. Finally, our esteemed judges confer, offer words of encouragement (and sometimes Simon Cowell-esque barbs), and either send the contestants to the next round or back home. So far, these rhythms sound like beats you’ve heard a hundred times before. But where the show excels beyond its competition is in its execution.

Network - Competition - Reality - Inch - Lives

Most of the network competition reality shows feel airbrushed to an inch of their lives. They’re brightly, flatly lit, cutting haphazardly to obtrusive reaction shots, and narrowing down complicated issues into palatable puzzle pieces. Rhythm + Flow does something different. From a formal standpoint, the show looks handsome. The first four episodes take place in different cities — episode...
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