The surprising success of the recent Notorious B.I.G. biopic has apparently sent a rush through some Hollywood studios. The recent news is that a Run DMC biopic is reputedly in the works as well in addition to "Vapors", the story of Marley Marl and the Juice Crew. Discussions popped up at every barbershop, check cashing spot, laundromat, sub shop, Chinese food restaurant and bodega in the hood, who should be next? Should 2Pac get a proper biopic next? How about some of the Old School pioneers? What about the New School heads? Maybe we should focus on the Next School so we don't lose the young folks?
If we made the Nas biopic who would get omitted from the story? If we made the Jay-Z biopic how much do we shit on Dame Dash and Jaz-O? If we made the Lil' Wayne story do we exclude all of the love scenes between him & Baby? So many questions! This has given rise to the idea that in order to streamline the production of these Hip Hop biopics we need a studio and a collective of writers and producers that are knowledgeable about the subject matter and most importantly love it and feel a genuine connection to it. Here goes my semi serious (?) collection of upcoming Rap biopic pitches for the fledgling Hip Hop biopic film studio. Here goes:
The subject: Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five/Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five, Old School Hip Hop Legends
Proposed titles: The Message, Fresh, Wild, Fly & Bold and Superrappin'
The pitch: A couple of brothers from the South Bronx (the Glovers) go to see Kool Herc spin at block parties in the early 70's and become B-Boy's. After years of seeing Coke La Rock on the mic they think to themselves " We can do that!" and they innovate new styles of emceeing. They rock the crowd and they begin recruiting they're friends to form a crew. Once they add pioneer DJ Grandmaster Flash to the mix they're guaranteed success, right?
They hook up with a shady manager and sign to an even shadier label. They make a gang of hits but have little creative control. A power struggle breaks out between Flash & Melle Mel and Flash leaves the group but is replaced by his mentor/best friend E-Z Mike. The story of the group's impact and Melle Mel's struggle to stay atop the elite of the Rap world makes for compelling viewing.
Who gets venerated?: Cowboy, Grandmaster Flash. Cowboy came up with some of the most well known Hip Hop phrases. Flash's innovations will be a big part of the early film and him leaving the group will sadden the audience.
Who gets the short end of the stick?: Duke Bootee, his contributions to the group will barely be mentioned in the film if at all.
Who gets thrown under the bus?: Sylvia & Joey Robinson, Ray Chandler. They're questionable business practices will make them great movie villains. They'll complain to the media but who'll really care? They were famous for ripping their artists off! Fuck 'em!
Who gets omitted completely?: The Kamikaze Kid, Tommy Gunn & King Lou. Will anyone really care besides them anyways? Spit a rhyme from one of 'em...It's okay, I'll wait. LOL
The subject: Rakim Allah, Hip Hop luminary from the Next School and arguably the greatest emcee of all time
Proposed titles: My Melody: The Rakim Story, Follow The Leader, Make Em' Clap To This and Microphone Fiend
The pitch: A kid grows up in Wyandach, Long Island playing Jazz with his father and uncle and later loving football. At 13, he becomes a member of the Nation Of Gods And Earths and begins writing rhymes. He becomes known as Kid Wizard Rakim and joins a crew. One fateful day, Rakim is approached by DJ Eric B. in hopes of laying down a few tracks. Ra is more concerned with playing college football but he comes through anyways. The sessions yield a couple of classics and the rest is history!
After making hits, changing the way emcees viewed lyricism and competing with some of the greatest emcees of the Golden Era of Hip Hop he became viewed by many as the greatest of all times. It won't be just him writing rhymes, recording, touring, eating fish (it's his favorite dish) and being softspoken and righteous the whole time...just the overwhelming majority of it.
Who gets venerated?: William Griffin Sr. and Paul C. They both passed before Rakim became a worldwide phenomenon and they both served as mentors to his early career.
Who gets the short end of the stick?: Large Professor and Marley Marl. Their contributions to his early career won't be a major part of any film based on Ra's life or career..unfortunately.
Who gets thrown under the bus?: Eric B., he was pretty much a show DJ that didn't do much production and Rakim took control of most of the aspects of recording and producing by the time their "Don't Sweat The Technique" LP dropped. Ra went off and started 007 Productions after he and Eric. B split and continued to record solo projects.
Who gets omitted completely?: The original 50 Cent and crew (potentially), the folks at Zakia/4th & Broadway and his old crew the Love Brothers.
The subject: KRS One, One of the greatest emcees of all times (Next School legend)
Proposed titles: The Life & Times Of KRS One: I Am Hip Hop, Knowledge Reigns Supreme or KRS One: Essays On BDPism
The pitch: A young boy witnesses atrocities during the blackout of 1977 and it changes his entire outlook on life. At age 13, he left home and wandered the streets on a quest to learn more about life. He hangs out with Hare Krisnas and earns the nickname "Krisna" which is later shortened to "Kris". He becomes a graf writer and adopts the moniker KRS One. He meets youth worker Scott Sterling and they begin a friendship based on their interest in Hip Hop music and culture. Soon, Kris and Scott form a crew and later secure an indie record deal as Boogie Down Productions.
They record the classic album "Criminal Minded" after sparking a battle with Mr. Magic's crew (who dissed them and wouldn't put them on the radio), especially Marley Marl and MC Shan after their song "The Bridge" became huge on the radio. They responded with "The Bridge Is Over" and "South Bronx" and they are on their way. Once Scott LaRock is killed trying to mediate an argument during the recording of the second BDP album, KRS One is thrust into the spotlight and eventually becomes one of the greatest and most influential people in all of Hip Hop history. Watch the progression of a legend..he is Hip Hop.
Who gets venerated?: DJ Scott LaRock, DJ Kenny Parker, Marley Marl & MC Shan (for responding and starting his career), G. Simone
Who gets the short end of the stick?: Ced Gee (his role in producing "Criminal Minded"), DJ McBooo, D-Nice, Sidney Mills, D Square, ICU
Who gets thrown under the bus?: Ms. Melodie, Mr. Magic & B Boy Records
Who gets omitted completely?: Road manager Scotty Morris, Harmony, Mad Lion, Channel Live, Heather B., Robocop, Spyder D and the list goes on...
The subject: Too Short, New School Bay Area Hip Hop Pioneer
Proposed titles: Born To Mack, Life Is...Too Short, Shorty The Pimp and Don't Stop Rappin'
The pitch: A young man named Todd Shaw coming up in Oakland, California starts rapping and hustling at a young age. He begins selling tapes of his recordings out the truck of his car and for a price he'll even make a personalized rap for you. He raps dirty and he talks about adult subjects incorporating the pimp culture in his material. At first no one would sign him so he sold a gang of units independently doing his own thing. Eventually, he got a deal with a major and his career skyrocketed.
Watch the improbable rise to fame and fortune of a young mack from Oakland. He's known worldwide and he's never once kicked a damn freestyle. You want a Too Short verse? By you some, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyoooooooooooootch!!!
Who gets venerated?: Freddie B., Ant Banks & Spice-1
Who gets the short end of the stick?: Various other members of the Dangerous Crew (Goldy, Rappin' 4 Tay, Rappin' Ron, Ant Diddley Dog, Father Dom, etc)
Who gets thrown under the bus?: Pooh Man, Jive/RCA Records, Yukmouth, hoes
Who gets omitted completely?: Several aspects of Short's move from Oakland to Atlanta and the whole situation surrounding his time spent there after his relocation.
The subject: Ice T, West Coast New School Hip Hop pioneer
Proposed titles: Rhyme Pays, The Iceberg, Power and O.G. (Original Gangster)
The pitch: Tracey Morrow has a tough life in New Jersey and moves to LA where it's even tougher. He experiences a completely different world there and he discovers the lure of the criminal world while falling in love with Hip Hop simultaneously. He goes from enlisted service to hustler, to thief to pimp to B-Boy to world renowned emcee and television/film actor. See the incredible life story and meteoric rise of Ice-T. Gangsta Hip Hop pioneer.
Who gets venerated?: Evil E, Beatmaster V, Afrika Islam. Afrika Islam was one of Ice T's early mentors in Hip Hop and Evil E was his long time road dog and DJ since the early days. Beatmaster V passed away way too soon and was a major contributor to his early production.
Who gets the short end of the stick?: Various members of the Rhyme Syndicate such as Donald D and Everlast.
Who gets thrown under the bus?: Electro Hop Records, Darlene Ortiz, Warner Bros. Records, George Bush, squares, hoes.
Who gets omitted completely?: Divine Styler, Hijack, the Ammo Dump Productions team.
More Hip Hop biopics in the pipeline for production via Dart Adams' Hip Hop Legends Studios:
The Life & Times Of Tupac Amaru Shakur (2010)
Hollis To Hollywood: The LL Cool J Story (2010)
The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick (2010)
It's Yours: The T La Rock Story (2010)
Illmatic: The Story Of Nas (2011)
Jay-Z, Brooklyn's Finest: The Life & Times Of Shawn Carter (2011)
Straight Outta Compton: The N.W.A. Story (2011)
Enter The 36 Chambers: The Legend Of The Wu Tang Clan (2012)
How Ya Like Me Now: The Kool Moe Dee/Treacherous Three Story (2012)