12 Episodes

Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of hip-hop with this mixtape of the cultural phenomenon’s finest movie moments, featuring a stunning line-up of legendary musical figures including A Tribe Called Quest, Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy, Tupac Shakur, RZA, Nas, Ice Cube, MC Lyte, and DJ Kool Herc. It was Herc who, at a Bronx dance party on August 11, 1973, first used two turntables to create an instrumental “break beat,” an innovation that sent the crowd wild. This modest New York origin story inspired an unparalleled nationwide, then global, explosion encompassing music, dance, public art, fashion, and, eventually, cinema. This dynamic program spotlights the many ways that hip-hop has intersected with film, showcasing raw early documents of the scene’s key players, intimate and informative portraits of musical expertise and technical wizardry, and definitive, star-studded evocations of the culture’s impact.

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  • Hip Hop Teaser

    Episode 1

  • Wild Style

    Episode 2

    Directed by Charlie Ahearn • 1982 • United States
    Starring Lee Quiñones, Lady Pink, Fab 5 Freddy

    The original hip-hop movie, WILD STYLE was the first feature film to document the scene’s music, break dancing, and street art at its inception. Through the eyes of a subway tagger named Zoro (played...

  • Style Wars

    Episode 3

    Directed by Tony Silver • 1983 • United States
    Starring Cap, Daze, Dondi

    An essential record of 1980s street art, this landmark documentary follows graffiti greats like DONDI, Seen, and one-armed writer Kase2 as they turn New York City and its subway system into a sprawling, spray-painted wonder...

  • Do the Right Thing

    Episode 4

    Directed by Spike Lee • 1989 • United States
    Starring Spike Lee, Danny Aiello, Rosie Perez

    Set on one block of Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy Do or Die neighborhood, at the height of summer, this 1989 masterpiece by Spike Lee confirmed him as a writer and filmmaker of peerless vision and passionate social ...

  • Deep Cover

    Episode 5

    Directed by Bill Duke • 1992 • United States
    Starring Laurence Fishburne, Jeff Goldblum, Victoria Dillard

    Film noir hits the mean streets of 1990s Los Angeles in this stylish and subversive underworld odyssey from veteran actor-director Bill Duke. Laurence Fishburne stars as Russell Stevens, a p...

  • Fear of a Black Hat

    Episode 6

    Directed by Rusty Cundieff • 1993 • United States
    Starring Larry B. Scott, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Rusty Cundieff

    Gangsta rap gets the Spinal Tap treatment in this gag-a-minute mockumentary about a controversy-inciting trio with a penchant for outrageous headwear, questionable lyrics, and a s...

  • Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

    Episode 7

    Directed by Jim Jarmusch • 1999 • United States
    Starring Forest Whitaker, John Tormey, Cliff Gorman

    Jim Jarmusch combined his love for the ice-cool crime dramas of Jean-Pierre Melville and Seijun Suzuki with the philosophical dimensions of samurai mythology for an eccentrically postmodern take o...

  • Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme

    Episode 8

    Directed by Kevin Fitzgerald • 2000 • United States
    Starring Muhammad Ali, Planet Asia, Bahamadia

    Go deep inside the world of improvisational rap in this explosive look at the music and history of 1990s underground hip-hop culture. Packed with rare and archival footage of some of the most amazin...

  • Scratch

    Episode 9

    Directed by Doug Pray • 2001 • United States

    With insight and verve, this illuminating documentary explores the world of the hip-hop DJ: from the birth of hip-hop, when pioneering DJs began extending breaks on their party records (which helped inspire break dancing and rap), to the invention of ...

  • Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

    Episode 10

    Directed by Michael Rapaport • 2011 • United States
    Starring Mary J. Blige, Common, Q-Tip

    In this fascinating documentary about one of the most innovative and influential hip-hop groups of all time—the Queens, New York, collective A Tribe Called Quest—director Michael Rapaport takes viewers on a...

  • Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

    Episode 11

    Directed by Ice-T and Andy Baybutt • 2012 • United States
    Starring Ice-T, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube

    The craft. The history. The power. All these elements of the hip-hop movement are discussed with codirector Ice-T and the legends he interviews—including Nas, Eminem, Mos Def, Kanye West, Chuck D, KRS-One...

  • Jamel Shabazz Street Photographer

    Episode 12

    Directed by Charlie Ahearn • 2013 • United States
    Starring Jamel Shabazz, Fab 5 Freddy, KRS-One

    In the infancy of hip-hop, Brooklyn-born photographer Jamel Shabazz documented the pioneers of music and style who would launch an enduring worldwide phenomenon. In JAMEL SHABAZZ STREET PHOTOGRAPHER, ...