Baz Luhrmann spent the final evening of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival tonight on a panel discussing his upcoming Netflix series The Get Down. Providing insight into how he works, the panel also served as a chance to reveal that the show, which tracks the birth of hip hop in 1970s New York City, was created with significant input from rapper Nasir “Nas” Jones.
One of the most influential rappers of the last 20 years, Nas played a huge role in a major character arc on the series. “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 — is that one of the characters goes on and we discover that he’s actually a successful rap star in the 90’s, and he narrates it through rhyme, through rap,” said Luhrmann.
Nas helped develope those rhymes and was described by Luhrmann as “this other huge creative force in the production and it’s been playing really, really successfully.” In addition to Nas, it was announced in 2015 that Hip-hop legend Grandmaster Flash, portrayed by Mamoudou Athie in The Get Down, is also serving as an adviser and associate producer on the show, which debuts on Netflix August 12.
Demonstrating once again her dominance within the music industry, Beyonce tonight scored her second consecutive surprise album release with “Lemonade,” an unannounced record dropped on streaming service Tidal (of which Beyonce is part-owner) shortly after the HBO premiere of a 60-minute short film of the same name. Like the album itself, the Lemonade HBO special was something of a surprise, announced just a week ago via the singer’s Instagram.
The film, an extended music video mixing visual imagery and new material, ended at 10 PM EST followed immediately by the release of the record on Tidal. The album includes the song “Formation,” which Beyonce debuted during her controversial Super Bowl performance back in February. Lemonade saw input from directors Kahlil Johnson, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, Melina Matsoukas, Todd Tourso, Dikayl Rimmasch, Jonas Akerlund and Mark Romanek.
Beyonce’s previous album, “Beyonce,” was also released with no advance marketing, recorded in secret prior to its surprise launch in December, 2013.