Beats, Rhymes, and Film

A brief history of the hip-hop movie
by Saul Austerlitz   posted Jun 30, 2011

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There were a LOT of things missed in this article... but when you only have so much space given to you by "the editor" (sorry, that was a newspaper term, and since people get their news from the net now, are there still editor-type people saying, "Saul, I need 1000 words on the upcoming ATCQ movie on my desk[top computer] today!!"? Just curious. But yeah, not only did he miss many movies, but entire GENRES of "rap films". Like the straight-to-home-video market - once Master P dropped "I'm Bout It" [and sold 4 million copies of it], a whole new industry was formed. (BTW, I know some people argue argue that Run-DMC's "Tougher Than Leather" movie was the first "rap movie" made for home video distribution, but, as cheezy as it was, it had a budget, a plot, AND - most importantly - was released to at least SOME theaters. But it was a seminal movie in many areas, and should have been included in this article). There's also the whole 'rappers who, for lack of a better term, "acted" in many movies & TV shows' thing, starting with Ice-T in New Jack Hustler. (I know, some rappers can act amazingly well, but there are many more who wouldn't get the part even if it was a biographical movie ABOUT said rapper(s)). JMHO
NotAmerican   posted 09.07.11

you missed Breakdance or Breakin' as well, but I wasn't aware of Style Wars so thanks for that. I tried to make my own little tribute to the early hiphop cinema here :;=relmfu
Fasbinder_62   posted 09.07.11

A critic who prizes "CB4" above "Fear of a Black Hat" is one who understands neither hip-hop nor comedy and should refrain from commenting on either. And the exclusion of the milestone "Krush Groove" -- certainly the first rap-based film many people saw back in the 1980s -- from this article is just silly. You need to go back to school, young man.
Wayne Kotke   posted 08.07.11


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Sony Pictures Classics
Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, directed by Michael Rapaport
Photo Gallery: Beats, Rhymes, and Film


hip-hop film  |  documentary  |  Hollywood


Saul Austerlitz is at work on a book on the history of American film comedy.

More articles by Saul Austerlitz