The second half of The Get Down is finally available on Netflix, so you can get your fix of Shaolin, Books, and the rest of the Get Down Brothers. Season 1A left the friends winning a rap battle, with real emcee Grandmaster Flash looking on happily, so proud of his protégés. Well, that triumph was just the beginning, because The Get Down Brothers’ lyrics in the premiere episode of Episode 1B show that their confidence is growing. And these guys are just getting started.
At the beginning of the series, the fearsome foursome were a little lost. Shaolin pulled them together with his revolutionary sound and his bravery in the face of the gang warfare that the boys face in the Bronx. Some direction and unity is what The Get Down Brothers needed to succeed, and for now, they're feeling good about their future. The lyrics of their first song in the second half of The Get Down's first season reflect that.
The performance takes place in a club, and The Get Down Brothers are performing in their personalized, matching jackets. Certain styles of hip hop are about bravado and bragging about what you have that your opponent doesn't have. The Get Down Brothers are definitely leaning into that kind of swagger with their new lyrics.
The refrain of the song is as follows:
It varies a little each time the chorus comes around, but this is the gist. At the end of his first verse, Books raps, "Still on the playground, y’all can’t compete / ’Cause we got it made so you might as well fade." This is clearly a line meant to tell their haters and competitors to just back it up, because The Get Down Brothers got this one.
Considering how all over the place the guys were in the first half of the season, these confident lyrics are a big signifier of how they’re becoming more comfortable in their neighborhood and growing up in general. They’re also becoming an important group in the budding hip hop scene of the Bronx, so some bragging rights are in order.
The bragging extends to their claim that the gang are now killing it romantically. Boo Boo raps about the ladies that The Get Down Brothers have around them, saying that he’s "the baby of the bunch, the chosen / Got a plethora of Cleopatra Jones." These lyrics play into the unfortunate trend of lyrics that objectify women, but seem to signify that the boys are turning into men.
It’s not all champagne and girls, though. Dizzee’s verse says that it's his "duty to rock the fine jewelry," but he also shouts out to his "Stan Smiths" and calls New York City his "canvas." Dizzee is the visual artist of the group. He has deeper concerns than just looking cool and is still a dreamer. To me, this verse says that there is still a little bit of their youth in the Get Down Brothers, and they’ll have to balance that out with their fledgling swagger.
Just a few minutes into the second half of Season 1, the Get Down Brothers are showing off what they've got, with fresh new lyrics and their cool team jackets.