There have been lots of movies about the ill effects of fame, especially if you get famous at a relatively young age. One can start to think about it as being successful, and when you add a little violence to the journey, it can be a pretty explosive experience, which ultimately fuels the misery in one’s life. The new Netflix show Volume brings exactly these flavors to it and, with some interesting music choices, tries to explore the lives of two young men, Benjamin and Castro, who embark on a journey to transform their lives but do not have an easy way ahead. Benjamin, aka Benja, the son of a musician and singer, wants to become a rapper, and when his social media page blows up, he becomes the focus of a talent manager’s hunt, but there is a problem. Benja comes ‘in a pack’ with his buddy Castro, a thief and a drug dealer, part of the infamous Mujaba gang.
How Did Ivy Help Benja Get Famous?
Ivy was a ‘vlog girl’ with thousands of followers, and she worked for Andrea, the talent manager. With one live session, she could start a trend, destroy a person’s reputation, or make him a superstar. Benja was the son of a relatively well-known musician and had a following himself, but after coming into contact with Ivy, he was catapulted to great fame. The other major players in Benja’s story were Smallz, a closeted gay man, and Lucy, Benja’s girlfriend. Benja, before getting big in the rapping scene, was a nice church-going fellow who sang psalms in church and was appreciated by the community.
How Did Castro Affect Benja’s Life?
Benja was helped in his music by Smallz and received real affection from Lucy, but Castro was the one who affected him the most. He was that guy in his life who could ruin it all for him. Once, he had stolen a lot of mobile phones and was roaming with Benja, who was arrested by the police. Benja had to miss a rapping competition because of the night he spent in jail, while Castro ran away, leaving him high and dry. But what could be done? Ever since George had left Benja’s mother, Maria, she had taken favors from the head of the Mujaba gang, Maish. Maish was Castro’s brother, and he and Benja had grown up together. The people Benja surrounded himself with kept changing him, for better or for worse, and here Castro was going to lead Benja into trouble, but Benja was not ready to cut him out of his life completely.
After a hit concert, Benja was vying for his spot in the big leagues, and Andrea had eyes on him. Benja was getting approached by many women, and the attention was enough to give him vertigo. Benja couldn’t control his lust and cheated on Lucy with Tanya. The fling he began with her was going to be traumatic for him, but he had no wisdom. Tanya was into drugs and found it beneficial to be around Benja, as she knew that Castro was a drug dealer. Castro had made a deal with ‘The Blades,’ the gang known for peddling drugs, to sell their product at one of Benja’s concerts. After Benja learned about it, he didn’t allow Castro to use his concert as his dealing ground. Even after strict refusal, Robi sold drugs at the concert to Tanya, and she died of an overdose. Ivy used the clip of Benja helping Tanya mid-concert to garner him more followers, and things took a turn in Benja’s journey to become a rap king.
Why Was Jackson Kidnapped?
Detective Ndolo was assigned to the case, and he immediately noticed that this duo of Benja and Castro was not a good pairing. But they were inseparable, it seemed. They did fight over Tanya’s death, and Smalls had to break up the fight, but they didn’t part ways. Castro was livid with Mobi, who had sold an ‘adulterated’ product and kept the rest of The Blades’ product for himself. Tanya’s death had given Castro and hence Maish a bad rep, and Mobi had to pay the price for it. He was killed by Maish, but there was a problem. Castro still had to sell The Blades’ product and give them their cut. The product was with Mobi’s girlfriend, and Castro had let her go, and now she was nowhere to be found.
Meanwhile, Benja was climbing the success ladder and was given a whopping quarter of a million as a signing bonus by Andrea. The idea was to make him famous by recording four songs for his ‘portfolio,’ a collection of songs that showcased his range. Andrea had a son named Jackson, and he became an unnecessary focus point in Castro’s mess. Stick, head of The Blades, ordered Jackson’s kidnapping, thinking Castro would get his money by arm-twisting Andrea. But Castro had no power over her. She shot him in the leg the moment she figured that it was because of Castro’s deal that her son had been kidnapped. Benja was fired on the spot, as he was the one who had persisted in getting Castro onboard as part of his crew. It was Maish, who, with Detective Ndolo’s help, shot down Stick’s whole gang and got Jackson back home safely. But Benja’s career seemed over.
Why Did Smallz Commit Suicide?
Smallz seemed to spend most of his time in a brothel, and perhaps he wanted to deny the fact that he was gay. His friend Mickey was probably HIV positive, and when he left town, Smallz was always a little bit depressed. Smallz seemed to love Benja but couldn’t tell him. He shared one thing with Benja’s father, and that was anxiety and panic attacks. Benja was a good friend who understood the pain of living with anxiety as he saw his father struggle with it, but he could never figure out the real reason for Smallz’s anxiety. Smallz struggled all his life, being fat-shamed by his boss at the store he worked at and being harassed by the police, who had figured out he was gay. He couldn’t cope with his loneliness, which is why perhaps he jumped from a building to his death. His death did bring about a change in Ivy, who realized that she did everything for views and likes. She had used Tanya’s death for her benefit and had used Benja’s presence to boost her own popularity. With Smallz’s death, she decided not to post everything and livestream all the events of her life. She had begun to do so only to distract herself from her broken family, but now she had lost her path.
What Can We Expect Next In Season 2?
Maish put Castro in a house arrest-type situation after he had finished dealing with Stick and others. Benja’s relationship with his mother has not improved, and it seems he will break away from her and live separately with Ivy. Lucy and Ivy shared a strange friendship throughout the season. They should have been at each other’s throats, as they both wanted Benja as a partner, but surprisingly, they became friends. Ivy understood that Benja loved only Lucy, and every other girl would just be a notch on the bedpost for Benja while he became rich and famous. Benja might end up marrying Lucy, but before all that, he had to get back to his music, which he had had to leave behind in all the chaos. There was a concert held at the very end of the show where Benja performed his heart out in memory of Smallz, and though it was a small stage, people came to see him. Andrea attended the event as well, and it seems she had rethought her decision to fire Benja. This time, though, she wasn’t upfront about her offer and wanted Castro to be the boss, who manipulated Benja into working for her. Castro seemed interested, as he was dying to break free of his brother’s shackles, and this offer from Andrea just might make him do that. But how will he convince Benja to work with Andrea again? The main thing was that Smallz used to compose his tunes, and he is gone now. Benja’s father was always said to have run away, and there is a chance then that he might return and pose new challenges in Benja’s life. He was Benja’s music teacher in a way, and it is possible that he might help him make new music if he returned some day.