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.
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.
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.
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)
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.