Chances are, you’ve already watched The Get Down, the new Netflix show about the music of the South Bronx in the 1970s. Created by Moulin Rogue’s Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis, it’s an intoxicating mix of melodrama and music, and has probably left you wanting more — it is, after all, just six episodes long for its first release.
Here are some choices for what to use as a chaser — each one a music documentary that either draws on the roots of the music seen in the series, or follows threads introduced to their logical conclusions in the DJ and electronic music culture of today. You’ve seen the fiction; now find some facts.
BIGGIE & TUPAC (2002)
British journalist Nick Broomfield takes a look at the murders that rocked — and, to a certain degree, shaped — the rap world in this strange, uncomfortable fish-out-of-water documentary. You’ll learn things, but whether they’re about Broomfield or Biggie and Tupac is an open question.
THE WRECKING CREW (2008)
It turns out, many of your favorite records from the ‘60s and '70s by a variety of different artists all feature exactly the same band — and this wonderfully charming look behind-the-scenes of the music machine from years gone by lets you see just who they were.
OUR VINYL WEIGHS A TON: THIS IS STONES THROW RECORDS (2013)
On the face of it, a documentary about a record label sounds like the opposite of a good time, but Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton breaks from expectation by mixing a touching origin story for the label with some surprise appearances — Kanye, Questlove and Mike D all show up — and killer music.
MUSCLE SHOALS (2013)
It’s a studio that’s hosted the greats, including Aretha Franklin, Etta James and the Rolling Stones, and in this fun, fast documentary, you get to learn just what it was about that one little building that brought out the magic in so many.
FINDING FELA (2014)
While Afrobeat isn’t a musical genre that trips off many tongues, the bands and genres influenced by the work of Fela Kuti — a musician who didn’t just invent the genre, he also fought against the dictatorship of his native Nigeria — is pretty extensive. Watch this and find out just where so much of your favorite music came from.
I DREAM OF WIRES (2014)
What’s that, you say? You want to know about the origins and history of the modular synthesizer, as told by people like Trent Reznor, Vince Clarke and Gary Numan? Well, this appropriately dry documentary is right here for you.
TAKE ME TO THE RIVER (2014)
The music of the Stax label has often been called timeless, and this documentary — which features musicians behind those classic recordings working on a new album alongside contemporary artists — seeks to make that legend literal. Never mind the thin storyline; groove on the music.
ARMIN VAN BUUREN: THIS WAS INTENSE (2015)
In many ways, the mammoth tour — and celebrity DJ that van Buuren represents, for that matter — is the natural endpoint for the clubs and disc-spinners in Luhrmann’s recreated '70s New York. Whether or not anyone on either side of the equation would admit that easily is another matter, of course.
HOT SUGAR’S COLD WORLD (2015)
While van Buuren takes the DJ journey as far as possible in one particular direction, the work of Nick Koenig — AKA the Hot Sugar of the movie’s title — goes entirely in the opposite direction, taking electronic music to new heights (and distances) as he travels the world trying to find new sounds to turn into music.
THE ART OF ORGANIZED NOIZE (2016)
From the sublime to the… equally, but different, sublime: without Organized Noize, you wouldn’t have Outkast, CeeLo or the Goodie Mob. Chances are, though, you haven’t heard of Organized Noize. Don’t worry; after this movie, you’ll be jonesing for the entire back catalog.