Rap as a musical genre took over the music scene in the late 70’s/early 80’s and over the years, the most awesome hip hop documentaries have managed bridge the gap between social classes and cultural identities by telling the stories of urban poets. As hip hop’s popularity increased amongst the masses, the lyrically rich sounds oftentimes caused controversy and moral judgement from those living in a different social reality. However, the documentary makers on this list focused on the message behind the music and showed the audience that the world of emceeing, B-boying, DJing, and graffiti-writing had so much more depth to it than assumed.
As the decades passed and the genre crossed the boarders of the US, more and more artists appeared on the scene and legends started to form. What had started out as a form of protest against social stigmas and racism, transformed into a billion-dollar industry. If you want to know who the world’s richest hip hop artists are, check out one of our previous articles, but if you’re interested in learning about rap titans and the impact this genre made on our current culture, indulge in the most awesome hip hop documentaries. Here are a few of them.
5. Style Wars (1983)
Director: Henry Chalfant, Tony Silver
One of the first documentaries to grab film critics’ attention was the cleverly named Style Wars. The film, which follows several graffiti writers through their tagging endeavour on subway trains and in the Bronx, does an excellent job at narrowing in on the urban aspects of a music genre. The focus on B-boying, as well as graffiti art, showcases the changes in New York City’s social landscape at the time, when hip hop battles took over the streets instead of gang wars. The movie is so well executed that its 70 minutes earned both directors an Award at the Sundance Film Festival.