10 TV Shows That Celebrate Hip-Hop, From Its Birth to Its Modern-Day Takeover

Everett Collection / David Lee/Netflix

Hip-hop was born 50 years ago at a party held by teenagers in the Bronx, NY, and the influence of the culture has been widespread for decades since. One place where hip-hop has had lots of impact? Television.

During hip-hop’s golden age (roughly from 1988 to 1995), the genre started to take up major space on television screens. Fox’s sketch comedy series “In Living Color” – which featured a majority Black cast – was infused with hip-hop culture and featured some of the world’s biggest hip-hop acts as musical guests. Then Will Smith took hip-hop culture straight to primetime with his sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

In more recent decades, multiple TV series have dramatized the rise of hip-hop and the different aspects of life it touches. Netflix’s “The Get Down” headed back to the ’70s in a fictionalized version of the genre’s birth, while Fox’s mega-hit series “Empire” imagined a fictional family with a sprawling musical empire. Other series like ABC’s “Queens” and FX’s “Atlanta” looked at what being a rap figure in the hip-hop industry can be like. Ahead, these are eight hip-hop TV shows to celebrate the culture’s anniversary.

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