I grew up listening to hip hop since I was a kid. It holds a special place in my heart. I’ve always viewed it as a powerful form of expression and storytelling, but also to unite fans as a strong community. It gives you a sense of identity with energy and swagger, while also providing you with some self-confidence. It has now become mainstream and popular for the current music scene, however I personally think that it continues to be underappreciated. Some people find the commercialization of hip hop to be style over substance, but I see it as finally giving this genre the respect and platform that it rightfully deserves. When I came across this documentary titled Underdogs (directed by Téo Frank) on Netflix, I was very curious to check it out. After watching it, it showed me why hip hop is more than just music. It’s a lifestyle. More essentially, it’s an underdog story just like the title.
Hip hop is a music genre that has truly revolutionized the world. It has not only become something that fans enjoy listening to, but it has also transformed into a unique form of culture. From DJing, MCing, rapping to dancing, the possibilities are endless. It’s a compelling and imaginative way to express your passion and love for music. The director is also a huge hip hop fan, which inspired him to do a whole film about it. Growing up in France, he started listening to hip hop back in high school even if he didn’t understand the lyrics. He still felt connected to the music, and that’s all it mattered to him. It’s an inspiring tale of him meeting these people. He really wanted to take a deep dive in this concept by interviewing artists such as Awon, Phoniks, Tiff The Gift and Dephlow. We get to see their lives shown in front of the camera. They all really go in detail on why they love this particular style of music, while also reflecting on their personal achievements and struggles.
Frank makes sure to give each person an equal amount of time for them to tell their own personal story. They each have their own definition of hip hop as a whole, but their ambition and passion remain the same. They all bring up some interesting points that will hopefully make you appreciate the cultural value of this certain type of music genre. It’s also worth pointing out that they don’t do it for the money or fame. They love to perform, because they genuinely enjoy what they’re creating as artists. It’s crucial to always stay true to yourself, which is a crucial aspect that I took away from the film. It’s not easy to thrive, but that doesn’t mean you should give up.
Just like the title suggests, the documentary makes you want to root for these individuals as underdogs. In general, it’s just so hard to make it in the music industry, especially when it comes to hip hop. The theme of perseverance is present throughout. It takes a lot of dedication, motivation and hard work, while also being with a group of people that will be sure to support your journey no matter what. One thing these artists all agree on is that they would be nothing without hip hop, as it gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment with their lives. It means a lot to them. It’s emotional at times for them to think back of their past, while also learning to embrace it and looking forward to their future. Never in a million years they would have thought that they would get a chance to shine in front of an audience. Whenever you get an opportunity to showcase yourself as a creative individual, I highly suggest taking it. Don’t let the process scare you out of your goals. If you believe in it, it will pay off.
Téo Frank is a true hip hop fan, and it absolutely shows while you’re watching. His life has completely changed after making this film. Underdogs provides a voice for passionate and talented individuals to be heard. Hip hop is here to stay, and it’s not planning to go away anytime soon. The journey you go with these artists is what makes it an underdog story, while also hopefully making you appreciate the cultural value of hip hop. For sure, life might knock you down. You just have to keep on trying.