The music industry from the 1970s and on has been an increasingly difficult one. Long gone are the times of simply forming a band, writing a hit and letting the world hear it. Well, maybe in theory things are still the same, but back then you could show up, play and get famous. Not so much now-days. In modern times it's all about the hustle. You want it? Work hard to make it and work harder to get recognized. Even then, recognition doesn't always equal financial success as it did in the old days. Now you work 100 times harder and still rely on luck. Yes. Having a good product still means a lot... but so does your image. As the years go by there is just so much more out there to compete with, and everyone wants their piece. The opening act of the musical war consists of writing and recording that ever important first album. Then, getting the funds to go further, doing it right, and allowing musical inclination and talent to be guided with financial wisdom and dreams. As hip-hop continues to rise in popularity among everyone, true fans continue to look for that realism and grit. That spark they can relate with, as the beats and lyrical precision take hold of their soul. The good in life, the bad, and the true spirit of the daily hustle. At first glance season 1 may seem to be only about the struggle, to get that first disc recorded. However, there is so much more showcased in this show, and even more than that for anyone looking to read between the lines. "Blue Collar Hustle" tackles racial issues, family, work and responsibility, and even friendships. It is also true that this show is all over the spectrum in quality, and the bad may scream low budget independent... but the good stuff within is just so damn good. Given the chance, and the full run of episodes, I suspect most would return for season 2. As I've said in previous reviews of the episodes, any show that has the ability to actually make you think about uncomfortable situations and realities, deserves a great rating. So although not perfect technically, "Blue Collar Hustle" given the chance really shines as you watch the process. The determination and the daily issues of life. The fact it's acted out so well is just the bonus. A feather in the cap for the talent in front of the lens. The final episode of the season brings us to that moment we've all been waiting for... and pauses. The record is finished, and simply waiting to be "put out into the world" and judged. It really is a great cliff hanger of sorts for anyone following the series. All that work and determination has paid off with an apparently awesome sounding disc, and we're led to believe season 2 will revolve around the promotion and success, or failure of the endeavor. I'm sure in true Alonge Hawes form, other story driven issues will arise to keep things moving forward. No doubt about that. Interestingly enough, the upcoming promotion of the new disc in season 2 is one of the lesser interesting seeds, planted for an upcoming season. Sure. We all want to know how Ajani, Quan, and the rest of the core crew fare in the real world of music, but other, possibly more interesting concepts are introduced. A possible relationship, or relationship fueled feud is on the possible horizon. Or, my favorite potential plot arc, the possibility of Ajani getting fired for diverting some of his attention to the upcoming record. An interesting conversation takes place at the start of the episode. Praise for balancing work and dreams and family life. Yet it turns out to not be so cut and dry, with possible consequences promising to be a highlight of a new season. Yes ladies and gents. "Blue Collar Hustle" is driven by music, but it's the side stories of struggle that really add the extra punch to the series. The set-ups are brilliant, ensuring interest remains high for the next step of the journey. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Come for the music, stay for the true life drama. On one level or another, we can all relate. That's the real magic of this show. So that's it. Through the episodes my reviews have went up and down. Much like the ups and downs of the series itself. As a final review, I decided to base it on all the stellar positives. The great acting. The excellent beats, the drama that unfolds we can all relate with, musical or otherwise. The series ability to have you thinking after the credits roll and finally, the heart and soul of the cast and crew behind everything. It's true you may disagree with my rating at first glance. I'm sure many will. However, if you give the entire series a chance and watch all five episodes... I have no doubt you'll forgive the instances that are less than stellar. You just need to sit back and watch. It's all here. Everything that makes a good show a good show. I'm hopeful and excited about an upcoming season. You should be as well.
Previous episode reviews and thoughts can be found below.