Baz Luhrmann (The Great Gatsby) developed his first TV series in the form of Netflix’s music-driven drama The Get Down. During a panel at the Tribeca Film Festival, the filmmaker announced the involvement of rapper Nas, remarking that he’s been “a huge creative force” on the project.
“One of the things, which I don’t think anyone knows because it’s not in the trailers, and we’ve been doing this for about a year now,” Luhrmann said, “is that one of the characters — I won’t spoiler alert it to you — goes on and we discover that he’s actually a successful rap star in the ‘90s. And he narrates it through rhyme, through rap. And this character, as it turns out, is played onstage in kinda sorta Madison Square Garden.”
He continued, “One of the great collaborations is that I’ve been working really closely in creating these rhymes, and he’s a producer on the film, with one of the most iconic voices of the ‘90s and that’s Nas. And so Nas has been this other huge creative force in the production. And it’s been playing really, really successfully.”
Luhrmann described these rhymes as “somewhere between pure rap, narration, and sort of Greek chorus comment.” He added, “We weren’t sure about it when we began, and we couldn’t do without it now. And [Nas has] been fantastic in that regard.”
Other musical talents featured in The Get Down come from Grandmaster Flash, who Lurhmann said is “in it as a young character,” and cast members from Broadway’s Hamilton, including Daveed Diggs.
Premiering on Netflix on Aug. 12, The Get Down centers on New York in the 1970s and a group of struggling teens in the South Bronx. The cast includes Justice Smith, Shameik Moore, Herizen Guardiola, Tremaine Brown Jr., and more.