Category Archives: Hip-hop Film

Cool Hip-hop Film

New Netflix Series: ‘The Get Down’ by Baz Luhrmann

Spotted this over at Okayplayer: apparently Baz Luhrmann is bringing to Netflix a mini-series about the birth of hip hop in the Bronx (as well as punk and disco elsewhere in NYC) in the late 1970s. Check out the clip below, as well as this short synopsis from The Hollywood Reporter. Looks dope!

The Get Down will focus on 1970s New York — broken down and beaten up, violent, cash strapped — dying. … Consigned to rubble, a rag-tag crew of South Bronx teenagers are nothings and nobodies with no one to shelter them — except each other, armed only with verbal games, improvised dance steps, some magic markers and spray cans. From Bronx tenements, to the SoHo art scene; from CBGBs to Studio 54 and even the glass towers of the just-built World Trade Center, The Get Down is a mythic saga of how New York at the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to hip-hop, punk and disco — told through the lives and music of the South Bronx kids who changed the city, and the world … forever.

Hip-hop Film

Tribe Documentary Official Trailer And Release Dates

The official trailer for “Beats, Rhymes & Life”, Michael Rapaport’s documentary of A Tribe Called Quest, has just been released! The movie’s official poster and release dates have also been unveiled.

I seriously cannot articulate how pumped I am for this film.

h/t: TheRapUp and Nah Right

Cool Hip-hop Film

Biggie and Tupac

There’s a documentary going around the internet (legitimately and legally) about the deaths of the Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac, two of the biggest hip hop stars this mortal realm has ever known.  Many of the links are US only, so here’s one that streams it online worldwide.

Here’s the description:

Biggie and Tupac is a no holds barred investigation into the still unsolved murders of two of the biggest superstars rap has ever produced; Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, and Tupac Shakur. Answering the crusading calls for justice from Biggie’s mother Voletta, Broomfield hits the streets from East Coast to West Coast, putting his own life at risk as he uncovers sensational new evidence that points directly to the involvement of the LAPD and imprisoned Death Row records co-founder Marion ‘Suge’ Knight in the violent slayings that shocked the hip hop world

I haven’t seen the film yet, so I can’t comment.  But I’m stoked that people haven’t forgotten.  In a world where there’s so much technology and resources, it’s still surprising that no one was ever able to solve these decades-old murders.

Trailer is below:

Watch more free documentaries

Art Cool Hip-hop Film

49 Minutes with Mos Def

Since we here at 4080Records seem to love documentaries oh so very much, I thought I’d keep going with the trend.

Get ready to spend 49 minutes with Mos Def in Japan.

Art Hip-hop Film

Rhyme Spitters

Damn, Doomsday is sick.

Rhyme Spitters is a sick documentary series chronicling dope freestylers from all over the place.  I’ve got all four of them for you listed below, so check ‘em out if you’ve got some time when you’re bored.  The best part? It’s free and streamable online.   

That’s a lie, the best part of Rhyme Spitters 3 has to be “You get booed worse than R. Kelly standing in front of a pre school.”  Cold.



Rhyme Spitters 2 from Rhyme Spitters on Vimeo.


Rhyme Spitters 4 from Rhyme Spitters on Vimeo.

Hip-hop Film

Watch the Gorilllaz documentary online


Gorillaz, that animated band with a rotating membership has finally got a documentary out.  For those fo you unfamiliar, Gorillaz has been formed as this odd cyber-group that has a variety of people who contribute.  Damon Albarn, most famous for his gig with Blur, has joined forces with a plethora of other superstars.  And yet they perform only as this animated group, you never really get to see them.   Some major hip hop legends have been a part of this, from DJ Shadow and Del the Funky Homosapien to Dan the Automator and Dangermouse.   They’re a pretty innovative experience, so check out the full documentary here, titled Bananaz.

In their own words:

“Bananaz is [Ceri] Levy’s story of the partnership & community behind Gorillaz. He takes you into the studio and out onto the road with this virtual phenomenon, showing a part of Gorillaz never seen before – reality. As one radio interviewer puts it, “It’s a parallel universe – these guys aren’t in the band but they know the animated characters who are.”

Hip-hop Film

Twice’s take on the Notorious movie


I hope at least some of you have managed to go see the new Notorious biopic in your local theatre.   The movie, based on the life of the Notorious B.I.G. is pretty entertaining and worth the couple of bucks.  But there are lots of things you should know.  I just caught the film, so I’ll do my best to give you a little review.

First of all, don’t go in thinking it’s going to be any sort of documentary.  It’s a film with plenty of poetic and creative license taken to make it entertaining.  They really go out of their way to glorify Biggie and humanize Puffy, which can be annoying at times.  And frankly, they make 2Pac look and act like a complete tool.

Now, there’s no way for me to know if Pac really did wile out like that and if it was his paranoia that started the whole east-west coast feud, but I thought it was a tad disrespectful to portray him like that.

Jamal Woolard, the cat who got to play Biggie, has apparently had very little acting experience.  I’ve got to say he did a pretty decent job overall.  His performance did seem, for the most part, flat.  He excelled at the comedic aspects of Biggie’s personality and did less well at the drama.  However, he seemed positively inspired durinng a scene at the recording studio where he first snaps on Lil’ Kim.

Oh Lil’ Kim, so much to say about her.  Besides the gratuituous sex scenes she’s in, actress Naturi Naughton actually seemed to nail the character.  Once again, there is definitely some creative license taken with it, and the real Lil’ Kim was absolutely livid about the way she was portrayed.

The reviews are mixed about the movie itself, with most seeming to agree that it’s a pretty facade and really seeks to make Biggie seem like a hero.  They do try to show his mistakes (such as his arrests for dealing crack), but even these were sort of talked about in passing and seemed to be shown mainly as an opportunity for Biggie to hone  his rhymes than as a serious life-altering mistake.

Puffy annoyed the hell out of me in this movie, I gotta say.  They made him seem like a wise and humble philosopher.  Not to knock his business sense, because he definitely is a shrewd businessman, but they really made an effort to make him look like a modest person just looking out for Biggie.

Problems aside, it’s still a decent film and worth checking out.  Especially if you’re not too familiar with life and death of one of New York’s greatest rappers.

Art Hip-hop Film

The truth behind “Wild Style”

Our boy fu-quon posted the full-length film Wild Style the other day, a pinnacle of hip hop film achievement.  If you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, you totally should.  This classic movie has just hit the 25 year anniversary mark and the New York Times has run a little piece trying to analyze it’s impact.

Charlie Ahearn, the creator, was basically inspired to make this movie after talking to Fab 5 Freddy back in 1980.  Amazingly enough, the movie would never have happened without the financing of two European TV channels.  There just wasn’t any funding for the film in the States.

This is the nuttiest part, I think.

Mr. Ahearn was drawn to real people, rather than professional actors, for many of the roles. He enlisted three men hanging around one club where the production was shooting and gave them roles as stickup men. They took the roles, but not the prop starter pistol Mr. Ahearn gave one of them for the scene.

“I was excited because it had some weight,” Mr. Ahearn recalled. “I gave it to Pookie and he said he wouldn’t use the gun.” (Pookie actually said something most definitely not fit to print.)

“I was so crestfallen,” Mr. Ahearn said. “Then Pookie leaned back, and without even opening the door or looking, he popped the seat of his car. He reached in and dragged out the most raggedy looking sawed-off shotgun. My eyes were twinkling. I am a documentarian by aesthetic, after all.”

That became the weapon that Lee and Patti Astor encountered outside the club, along with the line uttered at the beginning of this post.

That was a REAL gun they were held up with in the film.  MAN!

Read the article, it’s a trip.

Hip-hop Film

Wu-Tang film coming out

Wu: The Story of The Wu-Tang Clan is a documentary film that traces the rise and fall of the infamous Wu-Tang clan.

It looks like a pretty interesting take on their storied career.  NPR reports that the film is partly a biography, and partly just a kick ass hip hop movie.

I appreciate their focus on the fact that the Clan came from Staten Island and did their best to represent it wherever they were.  At that time, hip hop was clearly more territorial than it is now, and there was a major feud between East and West Coast rappers.

Beyond just their various personalities, this film does a fantastic job of showing you all the ways Wu-Tang changed the game.  Both from an artistic perspective and a business standpoint.  Without their influence, emceees these days wouldn’t be able to hold all the copyright, or necessarily produce for others freely.  Hell, these kids apparently were all allowed to have their own solo deals on other labels.

That’s impressive.

Check the story out.

Cool Hip-hop Film

“… like Remo in Beat Street”

Maybe the most professional of the early hip-hop film classics, Beat Street was released in 1984 and tells the story of aspiring superstar* b-boys from the South Bronx.  Unlike its contemporaries – think Wild Style and Krush Groove – Street transcends camp and, even today, remains more than a mere curiosity of hip-hop’s original Golden Age.  A genuinely decent film, it will make you wish you were present for that fleeting period when being a b-boy meant dabbling in all four of hip-hop’s elements and fights were settled on the dance floor rather than through more violent means.

And even if you ain’t feelin’ the film for its artistic merits, it’s worth watching for appearances from a host of early hip-hop luminaries, including Us Girls, The Treacherous Three, The System, Rock Steady Crew, Soul Sonic Force & Shango, The Magnificent Force, New York City Breakers, Furious Five, Tina B., Afrika Bambaataa, and Johnny B. Bad.

Check it out:

* From maybe the best line in the film:”Charlie, superstar is not a profession.”