Netflix’s This is Pop – Philly Edition with Boyz II Men

Netflix’s This is Pop docu-series is a fascinating look at the history of pop music and how it has evolved over the years. The episode, The Boyz II Men Effect, is a must-watch for any Philadelphian or recovering Philadelphian.

Music as a snapshot of the times

The episode has some work to do establishing the narrative framework and the history of our world as it relates to pop music – it begins by exploring the early days of pop music. Pop music, like all music, is closely connected to historical events. Artists react and engage with their times, making music a time capsule in many ways.

We open with a historical journey through history that takes us through the 80s with Michael Jackson and Prince and, of course, Boyz II Men. If you are from Philly or have spent significant time in Philly, there’s 0 chance you have yet to hear of the group. (And as I write this, their lyrics and music are swimming in my head because they are iconic. The Philly force is strong with me. )

Boyz II Men was barrier-breaking

One of the most influential groups to emerge from the late 80s was Boyz II Men. The group formed in Philadelphia, quickly becoming one of the most popular R&B groups in the world. For those Philly people reading this piece, Boyz II Men was originally called Unique Attraction. They started making music together at their high school, the ultra-competitive magnet for the arts, CAPA. 

Their music was a blend of soul, pop, and R&B, and it appealed to a wide range of listeners. Boyz II Men’s success helped to pave the way for other black artists to break into the mainstream, and their music continues to influence pop music today. Each member of the group were leads on the songs, making them the precursor to the boybands of the late 90s and 2000s. The group’s early career was marked by a string of hits, including “Motownphilly,” “End of the Road,” and “I’ll Make Love to You.”

Is it worth watching?

The Boyz II Men Effect was well made and researched. If you like history, the journey through the times and the interviews will be very appealing. This docu-series doesn’t dive deep into their personal history but instead visits them as they are now and as they look back. If you are a student of music, the history explored is invaluable. And if you’re a Philadelphian, it’s a must-watch. The Boyz II Men Effect seamlessly weaves the history with these personal narratives on the times and the music. 

How to Watch This is Pop

Originally, This is Pop premiered in Canada on CTV before it made its way to Netflix. The Canadian episode airing order is different, too, with The Boyz II Men Effect being the 4th episode instead. 

You can watch all the episodes of This is Pop, including The Boyz II Men Effect, on Netflix now. 

And if you, like me, feel the need to watch a classic Boyz II Men music video, enjoy the one below.

Did you check out this Philly-centric episode of This is Pop on Netflix? What do you think? Are you suddenly craving a cheesesteak? Please join the conversation by leaving a comment below or connecting with us on X @MoviesWeTexted.