The Criterion Channel Announces 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop Film Program at the Beginning of August 1.

The Criterion Channel announces 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop film program

The Criterion Channel announced the 50th Anniversary of the Hip-Hop Film Program at the beginning of August 1.

The US media company (The Criterion Collection)’s channel, The Criterion Channel, recently announced that it will launch a film series to celebrate 50 years of hip-hop, starting on 1 August this year, during the year. Hip-hop has been popular since the 1970s (almost since it was born), as evidenced by the fact that it has been featured in a number of films over the years, and the streaming service will be showcasing it in a series of films in the next few months.

“The streaming provider has commented on how it selected the 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.”

The showcase features a wealth of successful titles. For a start, there is Style Wars which is a 1983 American documentary about the hip-hop culture, directed by Tony Silver and co-produced by Henry Chalfant. Or there’s the so-called first hip-hop motion picture from 1982, Wild Style, directed and produced by Charlie Ahearn. But there will also be a number of other masterpieces, such as Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme, or the Spike Lee classic Do the Right Thing. The detailed list can be found below.

“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.” – said Ashley Clark, the curatorial director for Criterion, in a statement.

The Showcase:

August 1

  • Style Wars, Tony Silver, 1983
  • Wild Style, Charlie Ahearn, 1983
  • Beat Street, Stan Lathan, 1984
  • Krush Groove, Michael Schultz, 1985
  • Deep Cover, Bill Duke, 1992
  • Fear of a Black Hat, Rusty Cundieff, 1993
  • Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Jim Jarmusch, 1999
  • Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme, Kevin Fitzgerald, 2000
  • Scratch, Doug Pray, 2001
  • Paid in Full, Charles Stone III, 2002
  • Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, Michael Rapaport, 2011
  • Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap, Ice-T and Andy Baybutt, 2012
  • Jamel Shabazz Street Photographer, Charlie Ahearn, 2013

September 1

  • Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee, 1989
  • Boyz n the Hood, John Singleton, 1991
  • Poetic Justice, John Singleton, 1993

November 1

  • Belly, Hype Williams, 1998
  • Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz Club, Ivan Frank, 2008

In conclusion, Criterion has given a very worthwhile gift to hip-hop culture, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the aforementioned film lists. If you are interested in music production, it is perhaps worth mentioning that over the years, there have been a number of sample packs for hip-hop, and recently We Rave You showcased the Best 808 sample packs for trap & hip-hop in 2023.

Image Credit: Ben Wiens via Unsplash

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