Hip Hop was birthed in the Bronx on August 11, 1973 when Kool Herc and his sister Cindy Campbell threw their groundbreaking Back To School jam at 1520 Sedgwick. As Hip Hop inches toward 50, SHOWTIME and Mass Appeal have teamed up for three films that will resonate with Hip Hop purists all over the world.
According to a press release, SHOWTIME will kick of its three-year “Hip Hop 50” initiative in December with the Nas-directed Video Music Box documentary, the late Ricky Powell’s film The Individualist and Rolling Like Thunder, a Roger Gastman film about graffiti and freight train culture.
As the title indicates, Video Music Box chronicles the longest-running music video show in the world. Founded by host Ralph McDaniels in 1983, the show helped introduce Nas, LL COOL J, JAY-Z and Fat Joe to the world, long before they were considered Hip Hop legends. With four decades of never-before-seen footage from McDaniel’s vault, the film spotlights the series’ global influence while highlighting both his professional and personal triumphs.
Speaking to HipHopDX, Daniels compared working with Nas to having a religious experience.
“It feels great to get the story out to the rest of the world,” he tells DX. “Having Nas as a director is spiritual, because he loves this culture. The reason why I wanted to do it was for preservation. This will help in keeping the Video Music Box legacy alive. We helped start so many careers andmovements over the years. I wanted my family to know that part of history. We started The Video Music Box Collection at the same time to bring over 20,000 hours of rare footage to light.”
As for The Individualist, it tells the story of the legendary New York City photographer Ricky Powell, who passed away in February.
Often referred to as the “Fourth Beastie Boy” or simply “The Rickster,” Powell got his start capturing the ’80s and ’90s music/art scene in New York City. From Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys to Madonna, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Powell’s photography froze moments in time that have since become iconic images.
Meanwhile, Rolling Like Thunder explores the secret underground world and history of freight train and graffiti culture, “uncovering stories of myth-like artists, remarkable romances, competitive graffiti crews and battles with the institution.”
It also chronicles the art form’s journey from a taboo subculture to its place in high-end galleries, while revealing the “anonymous outlaws of freight writing who put life and limb on the line for an obsession to share their voice through their artwork.”
The rollout begins on December 3 with Video Music Box, which is followed by The Individualist on December 10 and Rolling Like Thunder on December 17. The “Hip Hop 50” initiative will continue until 2023 when the culture officially hits the monumental milestone.
Find more information below.