A number of interesting Hip-Hop documentaries have emerged recently, some to be viewed in cinemas, and some destined for the smaller screen. The Tribe Called Quest doc wasnt something we were expecting to gain Nick Broomfield type enlightenment from, but it is one we’d had fancied watching for some time. It appeared a few weeks back, and even though we’ve been sitting on a generously donated avi for that long, we havent had the desire/ opportunity to kick back and watch, so a review of that wee number is in the wings, still.
Ice Cube – LA Raiders Story
We have reservations regarding the Ice T ‘Art Of Rap’ doc and the Ice Cube ‘Behind The Music’ piece was strictly for the tourists, but we did enjoy the Ice Cube directorial story of the LA Raiders and their influence on him and Rap in general during the rise of gangster Rap. It’s a recognised westside connection, and a fascinating watch for anyone that ever rocked a Raiders sweat/ snap-back, wore Flights, pumped NWA, The D.O.C. et al, even if you werent watching the league standings each season.
We were intrigued however to see some investigative reporting on the career of Big Daddy Kane on US channel TVone, from a programme by the name of Unsung [the same show that has covered subjects Roger Troutman, Bootsy, Donny Hathaway and others. TVone also broadcast a 40minute history of Hip-Hops first novelty Rap act, The Fat Boys. As usual, these shows rely on shed-loads of heavyweight archive imagery and numerous pieces of previously unseen gold school footage; watching them perform Jailhouse Rap on Soul Train, as well as captured scenes from Sal Abbatiellos’ Disco Fever. With some great throwback images and expected appearances of familiar rap-singer talking heads types, the docs are interesting insights into the history of some great, and good, Hip-Hop acts of our time.
If you havent seen the VH1 rockDocs ‘NY77’, youve missed out on probably the most accurate and detailed film about the embryonic stages of Hip-Hop on film, from the people that created it. Featuring one of the most astutely chosen bunch of talking heads, this still brings home the raw excitement of inner-city life in the ever emulsifying days of 2011; Sweet G, Caz, Disco Wiz, Chris Stein, writer Jimmy Breslin, Richard Hell, Ed Koch, Bam, Jellybean Benitez, Blade TC5, KRS and DJ Hollywood to name a few…
Were still waiting for the DJ Junebug doc to reach British shores, and as much as we are truly passionate about the heady broadcasts of Kool DJ Fred Alerts days on Kiss, we aint holdin out for some incisive Herzog type leanings. While we wait, trainer tutor Gary Warnett reminded us about a Yo MTV Raps doc, major shouts to Gwar, and his many misanthropic izms..
As well as these, there’s also a mini-doc about the Cella Dwellas [‘If that is your bag’]. A piece on Detroit Hip-Hop and an ‘Untold story of Canadian Hip-Hop’ toboot