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Channel Surfing: Awesome TV picks for the week of 08/10/2020

The history of Ruff Ryders, Infinity Train Book 3, and Lovecraft Country.

This week’s Channel Surfing TV picks have a lot of mystery, intrigue, and horror. Have you ever wondered what it takes to build a $200 million empire? Learn how a bunch of hip hop upstarts worked together to create an influential collective and record label in the five-part docuseries, Ruff Ryders Chronicles. If you like your spooks and thrillers a little tamer, catch the third installment of Infinity Train. However, if you want the kid’s gloves off and are looking for big time scares both real (racism) and fictional (monsters), check out Lovecraft Country.

Stop, Drop, Shut ‘em Down Open Up Shop

DMX came back into the spotlight a few weeks back when he faced off against Snoop Dogg on the Verzuz platform. Watching him perform brought back memories from when he rose to prominence in the mid to late 90s. And you can’t think of the rapper without also bringing up his crew, Ruff Ryders.

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On Wednesday, August 12, BET premieres the new docuseries, Ruff Ryders Chronicles, that provides behind the scenes stories about the hip hop record label and the assorted talent that made up the collective. From that single group came not only DMX, but Eve, Swizz Beatz, Jadakiss, and Stylez P and to a lesser extent, Jin and Drag-On. The Ruff Ryders definitely helped influence the rap scene at the turn of the century.

All Aboard for Mystery

The animated anthology series, Infinity Train, returns Thursday, August 13, this time on a different home. The show has moved from Cartoon Network to HBO Max for its Book 3. A new adventure takes place on the seemingly endless mode of transportation.

This time, the story follows Grace and Simon, who we met in the previous Book. They are members of an anarchic group of kids called the Apex who are separated from their comrades. As they make their way through the various train cars, the duo cross paths with an idealistic young girl named Hazel and her gorilla friend, Tuba. Will Hazel’s innocence rub off on the main characters or will they corrupt her and make her the newest initiate of the Apex?

The Horrors of Racism and Monsters

Lovecraft Country is a new dark fantasy drama based on the Matt Ruff novel of the same name. As our own Nick Nafpliotis describes it, the show is the intersection of Jim Crowe-era America and cosmic dread. If that alone doesn’t draw your interest, big names Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams are attached as executive producers.

The story follows a young African American science-fiction fan named Atticus Black who sets out to find his missing father by road tripping through 1950s segregated America. Along on the journey are his friend, Letitia Dandridge, and his Uncle George. Together, they must survive not only the racial threats but also monstrous beasts plucked from Lovecraft’s stories.

Lovecraft Country premieres Sunday, August 16, on HBO.

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