Netflix’s hunt for the next hip-hop superstar is a blockbuster straight out of the blocks, with starry judges, famous guests from Snoop Dogg to Big Boi … and even a big money prize
Television talent shows have been in a funk for years now, particularly when it comes to their once unrivalled ability to hoist music artists up into successful careers, however short-lived those careers might have been. A star has not been born from The X Factor for some time, and its newest incarnations aren’t even bothering to try and find one. Instead they are settling for a celebrity special and an all-star edition, both of which are the ratings-desperate equivalent of “turn it off and turn it on again”. Arguably, The Voice UK never managed to give anyone a shot beyond the show itself. The charts no longer look anything like the old reality TV giants that could once crack them. Now, in the age of streaming and all the democratisation that brings, artists have more chance of turning themselves into stars than ever. Lil Nas X had the longest run at the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 of all time with Old Town Road; his Simon Cowell equivalent was TikTok.
Rhythm + Flow (Netflix) strides into this unpromising wasteland like the T rex finally making its entrance in Jurassic Park. This is the talent show updated, beefed up – and it will either save the format from oblivion or annihilate all competitors completely. Three famous judges are looking for the next hip-hop superstar, via auditions, battle rounds and tasks, and the eventual winner will receive $250,000 (£205,000) and a slot at a Spotify gig. So far, so talent show.
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