The Stars of 'The Get Down' Say Kendrick Lamar 'Is Doing Exactly What The Pioneers Of Hip-Hop Set Out To Do'

'The Get Down' stars Justice Smith and Shameik Moore join Complex's 'Keeping Up With Kulture' to talk the new episodes, Kendrick Lamar, and more.

Out now on Netflix is part two of the first season of The Get Down, the Baz Luhrmann-directed series that takes a look at the time before the term "hip-hop" became a thing. The first half debuted back in August of 2016, and fans of the series (along with hip-hoppers of all ages) have been patiently waiting to see where the characters like Zeke, Mylene, Shaolin Fantastic, and the Fantastic Four Plus One end up. With that demand being high, we had to get stars Justice Smith (who plays Zeke) and Shameik Moore (who plays Shaolin Fantastic) into the studio for the most chilled edition of Keeping Up With Kulture.

First up, the guys talked about where their characters would be heading in these new episodes. "Zeke," Smith says, "like always, is kind of trying to make everybody happy." Smith says that Zeke's trying to "appease everyone around him," and in part two "he gets better at that," although "he's not really, truly following his inner voice." For Moore, he says Shao "is trying to figure out what is actually wrong and what is actually right. His decisions in his mind are based off of one perspective, and he doesn't really see the whole picture completely." Smith also said that "there is a lot more music, and a lot more drama and romance, but mostly the music is what's really dope," so if you were into the hip-hop and disco from the first part, be ready for even more of that.

Speaking of music, and the fact that the world thought that the "April 7" that Kendrick Lamar mentioned on "The Heart Part 4" meant a new album from K Dot (which is now due out April 14), I had to ask Justice Smith: does he think Zeke could flame Kendrick Lamar in a battle. Justice was firm in his answer: "Kendrick Lamar, what is this, a joke?! Goddamn, no." After a chuckle, Smith got serious on the topic of Kendrick's role in the hip-hop game today: "I feel like Kendrick Lamar is doing exactly what the pioneers of hip-hop set out to do with this culture and this music. It was originally a call for community and for unity, and to rise up above all of this tragedy that was happening around them, and to promote positivity." He goes on to say that he is more about the lyricism and poetry first, and mentions that he's also a fan of Chance The Rapper, but don't front; he still turns up to the more trap side of things.

We also dug into Shameik Moore's musical side; he says he has a mixtape, Worth The Risk, which is due out in May. "The people that know me, probably know, I'm a dancer as well, and now I'm just going to be able to present myself on the same level I'm able to do with my acting on the music side; I'm coming out as an artist now." And keep in mind, Moore says he isn't on some "actor-turnt-rapper" sh*t; he's doing him.

We touch on a number of points, from Moore upcoming role in another '70s-era NYC tale, The Pretenders, and we tried to pry info about the upcoming Jurassic World sequel that Smith is working on. Smith also confirmed that there is some talk about a possible second season of The Get Down, but it feels like that's all in the rumor stages right now. Moore also drops some true player tips, like getting heated marble floors in your spot. It's a very low-key edition of Keeping Up With Kulture, with a number of gems laced throughout. Watch the full interview up above, then check out the return of The Get Down on Netflix.

Latest in Pop Culture