Portishead and Chuck D? Sounds like the very fiber which keeps a dream from ripping away into something less ideal. Well, the frontman of the century stepped out to deliver a verse from “Black Steel…” amidst the robust chaos of the electronic gloom gods’ “Machine Gun”.
A completely different feel than what was on It Takes A Nation Of Millions…but still pretty flooring. Chuck’s revolutionary chants of “machine gun”, “power to the people”, and “number 1″ as the band rumbled along in a raucous drone carried the haunting quality of a weathered war vet’s tone when retelling the horrors of battle.
Once Upon A Time In New York: The Birth of Hip-Hop, Disco, and Punk is a BBC documentary covering the music scenes that came out of the Apple in the 1970′s. The footage also goes into detail about the rampant drug culture (and it’s effects), and the issues with poverty and crime the city and it’s inhabitants were facing. Interviews include Richard Hell, Chris Stein (Blondie), David Johansen, Fab 5 Freddy, Patti Smith, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz (Talking Heads), Chuck D, Grandmaster Flash, Kool Herc, and Afrika Bambaataa.
Another video from the archives, imported over from France (even with the French narration at certain points, you can still hear the original interviews). This documentary titled Culture Hip Hop à New York was directed by Claude Fleouter and Jean-Francois Vallee and explores the scene’s culture (and the general culture of the city) in the early 90′s. Features include random lampin’ and freestyles with the Wu, Lord Jamar’s perspectives on the inequality of different neighborhoods, Greg Tate’s (of the Village Voice) prophetical insights on the characteristics of hip-hop music, a prison visit in New Jeru with The Lifers (signed by Hollywood Records at the time, a subsidiary of Disney … craziness), an explanation of the music’s popularity and the issues of the justice system by Chuck D, words from our main man Guru (RIP), and much more. To my “golden era” junkies, don’t miss these 45 minutes.
You probably know Ice-T for being one of the pioneers of “gangsta rap” or for wielding a badge on TV…essentially, two opposite ends of the spectrum (not including his time as front for his hardcore side project, Body Count). Well, with his new documentary entitled The Art Of Rap, he’s brandishing a different type of badge (no sarcasm). I’ll give him props off the fact that the trailer makes me want to watch the full-length after seeing the plethora of MC’s featured in the film. I’m surprised to not see a Rakim, G Rap, or KRS…but perhaps that’s all being saved for the finished product. The only real suspect shit about it is the pictorial montage at the very end…I could give a shit about 60% of those cats shown…and at least two of them wouldn’t be alive without their ghostwriters (Hip Hop elitist moment). Out soon.