In 1973, DJ Kool Herc threw a neighborhood party that created what we come to know as Hip-Hop. In its beginning stages, it was difficult for the culture and its elements (emceeing, deejaying, breakin’, graffiti, and beatboxing). Disco and R&B reigned on the charts. Older folk equated Hip-Hop crews with gangs and no record label was trying to sign DJs or rappers.
Enter 1979. Disco is slowly coming to an end and people are looking for the new. The Sugarhill Gang released “Rapper’s Delight” introducing rap to the worldwide stage. The track became the first rap song, and the rest was history. With the genre becoming profitable, it was only right for the culture to grow. The next step? The Big screen.
Now we know when movies and studios are involved with our culture things may not turn out the way that we wanted to. While there were some mishaps along the way, we eventually got some good too great representation of hip hop on the big screen. That representation not only came from the microphone it came from spotlighting DJ’s graffiti artist and break dancing. it also put some of hip hop’s biggest stars in front of a worldwide audience outside of their bars and hooks making them even bigger stars outside of rap.
For Hip-Hop History Month we are spotlighting some of the culture’s greatest movies from “Wild Style” to “Belly,” “Breakin’ to Who Got Served,” here are some of the greatest Hipp-Hop or Hip-Hop influenced movies in the culture’s history.
1. Wild Style – 1982
Credited as the first Hip-Hop Movie, the flick spotlighted all of the elements of Hip-Hip. The film was very instrumental in the careers of Fab Five Freddy, The Rock Steady Crew, The Cold Crush Brothers, and Grandmaster Flash. The film was also voted as one of the top ten rock and roll films of all time by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Greatest Hip-Hop movie of all time by Billboard.,
2. Beat Street – 1984
Where Wild Style gave us the gritty, Beat Street gave us the first big-budget feel. Starring Rae Dawn Chong (Color Purple) and Guy Davis, this film also involved all of the elements. We also got appearances from DJ Kool Herc, Treacherous Three, Doug E. Fresh, The Rock Steady Crew and other icons in Hip-Hop
3. Breakin’ & Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
Turbo, Ozone, and Special K! In early 1984 film “Breakin’ was released and it became so popular that 7 months later they dropped part 2. Part 2 gave us some iconic moments that have been repeated in music videos til this day. The film also helped introduce Ice T to the world. Sadly, we lost Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quiñones, the famed dancer who played O-Zone in the film in 2020 but this film keeps his legacy alive.
4. Krush Groove – 1985
In 1985, Rap was now becoming a major commodity, and not only was rappers getting signed to major deals, but you also began to see Hip-Hop labels including the most iconic, Def Jam. So Warner Bros. debuted “Krush Groove” based on the life of Russell Simmons and Def Jam Recordings. The film starred a young Blair Underwood (as Russell Walker) Run-DMC, The Disco Three (AKA The Fat Boys), and Sheila E. We also got guest appearances from New Edition and Urban One’s own Donnie Simpson
5. Disorderlies – 1987
After Krush Groove music and Hollywood saw the star potential of The Fat Boys. So much so, they gave the trio their own film, the 1987 film “Disorderlies” This film showed that the 3 could indeed be the Black 3 Stooges. Unfortunately, we lost both Prince Markie Dee and Buff Love.
6. House Party – 1990
Kid N’ Play. Sidney and Sharane. Full Force. Bad Breath Bilal. A rap and dance battle and an ass whooping at the end?? Look, House Party is one of the greatest movies of all time. No Debate! The film gave us 2 sequels (we don’t count the other ones) and a remake is on the way (Why? Ask LeBron James). But it will never be as good as the first one. Ask Kid and Sidney.
7. Boyz N The Hood – 1991
While technically this isn’t a “Hip-Hop” movie, this film stars Ice Cube in his first movie role. With Compton and West Coast Hip-Hop in the background including Compton Most Wanted’s “Growin’ Up in the Hood,” the film help kick off the careers of Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, and Nia Long. The film was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards and John Singleton was the youngest person and the first African-American to be nominated for Best Director.
8. Juice -1992
A coming of age story gone wrong. A Star-turning role for a rapper named Tupac Shakur and actor Omar Epps. And yes, Hip-Hop was involved. I wonder if Omar Epps can really DJ.
9. CB4 – 1993
CB4 might have made a lot of rappers upset. It also may have given some rappers an idea on how to make money. The film starring Chris Rock and Allen Payne spoofs Gangsta Rap in this hilarious comedy
10. Who’s The Man – 1993
Ed Lover and Dr. Dre held down Mornings at Hot 97 and hosted Yo MTV Jams and gave us Who’s The Man. Damn near everyone in Hip-Hop was in this movie. Classic!
11. Fear of a Black Hat – 1994
Just like CB4 spoof rappers, the Rusty Cundieff comedy “Fear of a Black Hat” took the Spinal Tap approach, giving us the look at the rise, fall and rise of a rap group.
12. Friday – 1995
Again the question comes up: Is this really a Hip-Hop Movie… Yes and Friday After Next is a Christmas movie too. The flick that started it all. ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Nia Long, the Late Bernie Mac and Tiny “Zeus” Lister.
13. The Show – 1995
A Who’s Who in Hip-Hop appeared in the 1995 Documentary “The Show” Biggie, The Wu-Tang Clan in Japan, Snoop and the Dogg Pound, Slick Rick in prison and more, The movie and the soundtrack is a must have
14. Belly – 1998
Probably one of the greatest opening scenes in Hip-Hop movie History. The cinematography along with 3 of the biggest stars in Hip-Hop at the height of their careers… Belly is def on the list.
15. 8 Mile – 2002
You only get one shot… Eminem’s biopic starring Eminem has to be on anyone list.
16. Paid In Full – 2002
Paid In Full is loosely based on the life of Rich Porter, Alpo Martinez and AZ Faison. The story is linked to Hip-Hop lore and with Dame Dash behind the movie and Cam’ron in his first role murking our Mehki Phifer… Classic.
17. State Property – 2002
The Beanie Sigel/Damon Dash Led film gives you everything you want in a Hip-Hop film… Bad Acting included. It’s still a classic!
18. Brown Sugar – 2002
A Hip-Hop Love Story! Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan along with Queen Latifah and Q-Tip rounded out a dope cast and a great love story involving Hip-Hop. Shouts to the Hip-Hop Dalmations
19. You Got Served! – 2004
B2K and Marques Houston did it for Lil Saint and that’s all that matters
20. Get Rich or Die Tryin’ – 2005
50 Cent’s semi-biopic had to make it on here. 50 Cent playing 50 Cent getting shot 9 times? Classic
21. Hustle & Flow – 2005
It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp! Hustle And Flow deserves to be on anyone’s list.. Especially since it’s an Oscar Winner.
22. Notorious – 2009
The story of The Notorious B.I.G is an amazing one and needed to be in the big screen
23. Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap – 2012
The Ice T led documentary gave us an inside look on the art of bars from the Bar-barians themselves. A Must See
24. Straight Outta Compton – 2015
The Oscar-nominated film gave us an inside look into the beginnings of NWA and the careers of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella and Eazy E.
25. All Eyez On Me – 2017
2Pac’s live story hit the big screen in 2017 with an actor who really looked like Pac!
26. Roxanne Roxanne – 2017
The story of one of the first female rappers to make a name for herself in rap had to be told. Roxanne Shante’s story is incredible. A Hip-Hop must see.