The BEST Episodes of Hip-Hop Evolution

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Sep 6, 2020

Network: HBO Canada

HIP-HOP EVOLUTION travels back to 1970s Bronx and Harlem, unveiling how hip-hop evolved from its beginnings as a New York house-party experiment, to the global phenomenon it is today, and more importantly, how it created a voice for the disenfranchised. Acclaimed Canadian MC and media personality Shad Kabango guides viewers through the evolution of the genre, travelling through NYC’s boroughs to speak with hip-hop’s originators and biggest stars. The power-house documentary features interviews with the musical legends and pioneers that started it all.

The Foundation

#1 - The Foundation

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 4, 2016

Bronx-based DJs set Hip-Hop's sonic foundations. MCs, inspired by African American oral traditions, create the modern template for rap music, culminating with the emergence of Hip-Hop's first crew, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

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Writers: Rodrigo Bascunan
From The Underground to The Mainstream

#2 - From The Underground to The Mainstream

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 11, 2016

Hip-Hop crews in the Bronx and Harlem begin to form around the DJs, but these pioneering groups never record any music. It would take R&B veterans to see the genre’s commercial potential and create Hip-Hop's first hit, "Rapper's Delight."

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Writers: Rodrigo Bascunan
The New Guard

#3 - The New Guard

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Sep 18, 2016

Run-DMC ushers in a new era of Hip-Hop. Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin build Hip-Hop's first empire, Def Jam. An unknown producer finds a new way to make beats and launches Hip-Hop's Golden Age, culminating in the epic fury of Public Enemy.

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Writers: Rodrigo Bascunan
The Birth of Gangsta Rap

#4 - The Birth of Gangsta Rap

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Sep 25, 2016

Ice-T uses Hip-Hop to reflect the violence of Los Angeles and inspires a new form of Hip-Hop: Gangsta Rap. N.W.A’s first album, Straight Outta Compton, shocks America. After the LA Rebellion, Dr. Dre makes The Chronic, and creates Hip-Hop’s first hardcore pop record.

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Writers: Rodrigo Bascunan
The Southern Way

#5 - The Southern Way

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Oct 19, 2018

2 Live Crew popularizes the Miami bass sound and scores a victory for free speech. The Geto Boys put Houston on the map, paving the way for UGK.

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Out the Trunk: The Bay

#6 - Out the Trunk: The Bay

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 19, 2018

In the Bay Area, Too $hort channels pimp culture, MC Hammer becomes rap's first pop star, and Digital Underground introduces the world to Tupac Shakur.

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Do the Knowledge

#7 - Do the Knowledge

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 19, 2018

KRS-One makes his mark at New York's legendary Latin Quarter club. A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul cultivate an Afrocentric, jazzy style.

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New York State of Mind

#8 - New York State of Mind

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 19, 2018

In the early 1990s, a new wave of hardcore East Coast artists emerges, led by Nas, Wu-Tang Clan and the Notorious B.I.G.

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A Tale of Two Coasts

#9 - A Tale of Two Coasts

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 6, 2019

With the rise of N.W.A., gangsta rap and Suge Knight, the East Coast-West Coast rivalry climaxes with a lethal beef ensnaring the great Tupac Shakur.

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Life After Death

#10 - Life After Death

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 6, 2019

In NYC, the Notorious B.I.G. fosters an empowering protégée, Lil’ Kim. When the East-West feud claims Biggie, Puff Daddy and Jay-Z vie for the throne.

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Pass the Mic

#11 - Pass the Mic

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired Sep 6, 2019

Alternative hip-hop bubbles up from the streets: Mos Def spits in NYC, the Freestyle Fellowship chops it up in LA, and Eminem battles on the circuit.

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The Dirty South

#12 - The Dirty South

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired Sep 6, 2019

A hot, sticky music scene is born in Atlanta as the infectious hooks of TLC and Kris Kross yield to the gritty originality of OutKast and Goodie Mob.

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Bounce to this

#13 - Bounce to this

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired Jan 17, 2020

Rooted in New Orleans's rich music culture, No Limit mogul Master P and bounce breakouts DJ Jimi and Juvenile shake rap and put twerking on the map.

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The Southern lab

#14 - The Southern lab

Season 4 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 17, 2020

Innovators explode out of the South: Houston's DJ Screw slows hip-hop down, Memphis's Three 6 Mafia goes dark, and Atlanta's Lil Jon brings the crunk.

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The Super Producers

#15 - The Super Producers

Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired Jan 17, 2020

Auteurs like the Neptunes' Pharrell and Chad expand the sonic palette. Timbaland and Missy Elliott lean forward. Kanye West and J Dilla reimagine rap.

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Street Dreams

#16 - Street Dreams

Season 4 - Episode 4 - Aired Jan 17, 2020

Mixtapes spread the hottest sounds, infringe copyright and break artists. Among them, 50 Cent polarizes, T.I. takes off with trap, and Lil Wayne clicks.

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