Rap music and the hip-hop culture is fascinating. Just the colorful graffiti associated with the original movement is an eye-full. However, the quest to bring this world to the big screen hasn't always been entirely successful. Sometimes, filmmakers have been able to bring a slice of this life to the screen in a way that we can more fully understand it. Then again, there have been terrible attempts to make movies out of street life. What follows is a list containing three of the best, followed by three of the absolute worst.


"Style Wars"


Believe it or not, "Style" Wars was originally aired on PBS in 1983. It's a documentary directed by Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant. The film mainly covers graffiti, but there is also rap music explored. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. This film has been praised, and rightly so, for communicating the motives that drove these pioneering artists and musicians, instead of merely putting their art on the big screen. It showed these urban artists as the true artists they were.

"Wild Style"

Charlie Ahearn produced "Wild Style," which came out in theaters in 1983. It included a lot of the original stars of rap, including Grandmaster Flash. It may not look pretty, but news outlets like The Guardian all agree that it did a good job of capturing the look and feel of those pioneering days. The film developed quite the cult following. The fact that contemporary musicians, such as Cypress Hill and Beastie Boys, have sampled this soundtrack, even gives it more credibility.

"Beat Street"

None other than Harry Belafonte produced this 1984 drama. The story takes place in New York City. Interestingly, some of the plot to this movie was based on the documentary Style Wars. It also features a fantastic soundtrack, including music by Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force. This was one of the movies that helped introduce the hip hop movement to such faraway places as Germany. Therefore, it was influential in transforming the movement from a national style to something far more international.


"Cool As Ice" (1991)

Just as there is the good, there is also the bad. Nobody was/is more of a poser than Vanilla Ice, who starred in Cool As Ice in 1991. This film proved Vanilla Ice couldn't act, just as he couldn't rap. The teen girls probably dug it, but none of those adults would admit to liking it now.

"Before I Self Destruct" (2009)


While films spotlighting the pioneers of rap showcase artistic innocence, movies like "Before I Self Destruct," which stars 50 Cent, should never have been made. He stars as young man who wants to become a basketball star. However, when somebody kills his mom, his life becomes all about revenge

"Full Clip" (2004)


Busta Rhymes is a tremendously gifted raper. However, when he tries to re-do '70s exploitation film Bucktown--this time titled "Full Clip"--he fails big time. Even having Xzibit in the movie doesn't help. Rhymes plays Pope, a guy returning to his hometown to gather up an inheritance left by his father. He should have never returned, nor documented this return on film.