According to Pitchfork, the streaming service will put a spotlight on films “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.”
“We’re extremely excited to present this wide-ranging series that highlights the incredibly varied ways that Hip Hop has shown up in film since the culture’s birth 50 years ago,” Ashley Clark, the director for Criterion, said in a statement.
“From raw, pivotal early documents like Wild Style and Style Wars onward, there’s something for everyone here, whether you’re an expert or a beginner.”
Coming to @criterionchannl August 1✨HIP-HOP, an 18-film 50th anniversary celebration! This mixtape of the cultural phenomenon’s finest movie moments features a stunning line-up of legendary musical figures with films like STYLE WARS, BELLY, DEEP COVER, POETIC JUSTICE, and more! pic.twitter.com/ofFQDX2xSO
— Criterion Collection (@Criterion) July 11, 2023
Films that will be shown starting August 1 include classic Hip Hop flicks such as Wild Style, Beat Street, KrushGroove, Paid in Full, and Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, to name a few.
Films that will be shown starting September 1 include Do the Right Thing, Boyz n the Hood, and Poetic Justice. From November 1, films including Belly, and Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz Club will be made available on the platform, the former of which stars DMX as Tommy “Buns” Bundy and Nas as Sincere.
Many Hip Hop films have expansive backstories behind them and Belly is no different. In April, actor Tyrin Turner admitted that he tried to “sabotage” the Hype Williams-directed movie after his role was given to X.
Speaking on the Dub C & CJ Mac Show, Turner recalled his anger and disappointment after he was promised the lead role of Tommy “Buns” Bundy in the 1998 cult film, only for Williams to change his mind and give it to DMX.
Turner was instead cast as Big Head Rico, and attempted to bring the film down by delivering an intentionally silly performance. Ironically, his plan backfired as it had the complete opposite effect.
“I met Hype Williams, I did the ‘Mary Jane’ video for Scarface, and then Hype was like, ‘I got this movie called Belly, I want you to be DMX’s character,'” he said. “But DMX wasn’t out then, he was just like, that’s what he wanted.”
“A few months later, [Hype] was like, ‘We got this dude named DMX, he the next one from New York — it was a New York movie.’ He say he was gon’ go in that direction. It was cool, but at first I was irritated. I was like, ‘Damn, you said you wanted me.'”
He continued: “I’m young, I’m mad I didn’t get the character I wanted so [I was like], ‘I’m gon’ fuck this movie up. I’ma put on some glasses, I’ma be the worst country snitching dude that I could ever be.'”
“I’m thinking that I’m sabotaging the movie, but I’m thinking I’m irritated. I’m thinking that I’m just gon’ fuck the movie up. It was iconic. I couldn’t even fuck up what I wanted.”