Thursday, January 11, 2007

25 Most Influential Films To Hip Hop Culture AKA Dartflix Edition #2

Here’s my list of the 25 Most Influential Films To Hip Hop Culture as well as 5 Honorable Mentions. Disagree with any of my selections or omissions? Hit me up in the comments section with your choices or lists. Let’s get it started.

Dart’s Three Trailers Of The Week (1/8/07-1/14/07):



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

1. Sweet Sweetback's Baaadaasss Song*
2. Space Is The Place (Sun Ra & His Arkestra)**
3. Shaft
4. Superfly
5. The Mack
6. Wattstax
7. The Education Of Sonny Carson
8. Wild Style
9. Style Wars
10. Beat Street***
11. Krush Groove
12. Tougher Than Leather
13. Scarface
14. Boyz N The Hood
15. Menace II Society
16. The Warriors
17. Once Upon A Time In America/Black Caesar (tie)
18. Juice
19. Grafitti Rock****
20. Breakin’/New Jack City (tie)
21. Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
22. The Godfather
23. Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
24. Carlito’s Way
25. Enter The Dragon

Honorable Mention:
26. Goodfellas
27. Mobsters
28. Return Of The Dragon/The Untouchables (tie)
29. Casino
30. 8 Mile*****

* Without Melvin Van Peebles indepedent 1971 film, there would have been no independent film market (he created it by himself unintentionally), no Blaxploitation Era, and who knows when a film with a Black lead would have ever been made had he not made Sweetback or it’s soundtrack? Almost every other film on this list was able to be made because of this seminal film (To see a film about the making of this one, watch Mario Van Peebles’ “Baaadasss”).

** Sun Ra was a huge influence of Parliament/Funkadelic as well as Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force as well as the entire Dungeon Family. The film Space Is The Place was the first musical social commentary film that addressed the issue of Black people’s mistreatment /2nd class citizenship. It also addressed the generation gap and problems with the youth/Black identity. It may seem weird at times, but it was groundbreaking when it was first released.

***Beat Street is essentially nothing more than Wild Style and Style Wars lite. That, however, does not change the fact that it's many people’s introduction to hip hop culture. Same goes for the Breakin’ movies, no matter how corny they are or much they really sucked.

**** Grafitti Rock was a TV show dedicated to hip hop music and culture made by Mike Holman (also the manager of New York City Breakers, the crew Rocksteady battled in Beat Street). This show was the first (and only) TV series that was made by and for hip never lasted past the pilot. Holman’s footage of hip hop events comprised Afrika Bambaataa’s videos for “Planet Rock” and “Looking For The Perfect Beat”.

***** 8 Mile was pretty much just a hip hop version of Purple Rain. That doesn’t change the fact that it introduced a whole new generation to the art of the battle and ultimately helped the Smack DVD’s and Fight Klub DVD’s become popular.

Special note: I’m not too keen on putting Mafia and/or gangster movies on a list of movies most influential to hip hop culture...I can’t bury my head in the sand and pretend that influence doesn’t exist at all, though. I don’t live in a cave.

Slept on hip hop related movies available on Netflix:
Graffitti Rock & Other Hip Hop Delights
The Art Of 16 Bars
The MC: Why We Do It
Freestyle: The Art Of Rhyme
The Freshest Kids: History Of The B Boy
5 Sides Of A Coin
Gil Scot-Heron- Black Wax/Is That Jazz?
DJ Q Bert Live: Australia/Asia
Adventures Of Grandmaster Roc Raida Vol. 3
Best Of The Source Awards Vol. 1
X-Ecutioners: Built To Scratch
Scratch: All The Way Live
Scribble Jam #7
Scribble Jam #9
Scribble Jam Archive No. 2
Bomb The System
Stones Throw 101
Revenge Of The Robots
Wu-Tang Clan: The W: Vol. 1
Wu-Tang Clan: Disciples Of The 36 Chambers
Roots: A Sonic Event
Black Moon: Behind The Moon
Boot Camp: From The Frontlines DuckDown Visuals Vol. 4
Mobb Deep: Infamous Allegiance (2 Discs)
Hieroglyphics: Full Circle Tour Live
The B. Coming Of Beanie Sigel
Jay-Z: Streets Is Watching
Jay-Z: Fade To Black
Nas: Made You Look: God’s Son Live
Rhyme & Reason
The Show

Dart’s Picks:
Hieroglyphics: Full Circle Tour
Revenge Of The Robots
Black Moon: Behind The Moon
Black Moon: From The Frontlines Duck Down Visuals Vol. 4
Roots: A Sonic Event
Wu-Tang- Disciples Of The 36 Chambers

I love seeing tour and behind the scenes footage of my favorite hip hop groups/artists. It personally makes me feel better for some odd reason, like visual/physical proof that hip hop hasn’t gone’s alive and well and don’t forget it! I have to say that the Def Jux documentary on Revenge Of The Robots might be one of the best docs I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t pick one and leave the others out because I love ‘em all.

Dart’s WTF? Awards/Watch This Bullshit At Your Own Risk!:
Rap War One- An aspiring emcee from the hood faces girlfriend drama and general stressful street shit as he tries to battle his way to the top of the heap. This movie looks and sounds like shit. The battles were trash and whoever wrote the lyrics in this film needs to have his ass whupped. The dialogue sucks, the script (assuming there was one) was hella predictable with all types of cliches throughout. This was a terrible, terrible film and a black eye on hip hop in general.

Murda Muzik- This film was done for close to 2 years before it was we know why. Mobb Deep made the quintessential wack ass gangster/hood/rap movie. At least they still make good, fuck...I forgot. 50 ruined them. Speaking of 50 Cent...

Get Rich Or Die Trying -Curtis “Million Dollar Budget” Jackson stars in a quasi remake of 8 Mile (which was a quasi remake of Purple Rain). I did not like this movie...not at all. I saw it and immeadiately forgot about it. Not one thing stood out to me about any aspect of this movie, that is sad on so many levels. God did not give us the gift of the movie camera to make forgettable films.

Death Of A Dynasty- How bad was this movie? It was worse than Paper Soldiers, State Property 2 and Soul Plane all spliced into one continuous film. One guy played 5 different parts simultaneously and another played 3. All of the guest appearances made little to no sense and didn’t advance the story. The main character was annoying as all hell and in the end I felft stupid for watching it all the way through. It tried way too hard to be funny, in the end it looked like one of those embarassing student films that people find in the trash around Emerson’s campus at the end of each semester. The only acceptable reasons for watching this shit are a gun/hammer/knife/crossbow to your head or the head of a loved one...or a lost bet.

Next week: Dartflix #3 The Anime Edition



AC-Cobra said...

Nice list Dart. As always your gonna make me track down a load of stuff I never seen or heard before and Im thankful that (the ups over the last few days have been constant fire, props).

One question, I cant disagree with most of the list (I havent heard of or seen around 10 of em neway), but how come no love for New Jack City??

Joe said...

If you want an even better source of info on Melvin Van Peebles (including his music, which early rap pioneers like Gil Scott-Heron say was hugely influential) check out the doc "How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It)." There's a trailer at www.myspace/howtoeatyourwatermelon. It premieres on IFC on February 15 (9pm ET) and the DVD will come out in spring. Melvin's THE MAN!

ex press said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ex press said...

Yo Dart,
real gems on your blog. Keep it up!

But have you forgotten a man called Dolemite?

I mean he wasn't gangsta gangsta.

I'm still bumpin Kane vs. Dolemite ;-)


Travis said...

You are killing it with these posts man. Excellent, you are going to make me step my game up.

I'm going to have to check some of these out, I think I've only seen half.

Only thing I think I would put in there that you didn't (albiet, it would probably be honorable mention) would be "King of New York", gangster as it maybe

POPS said...

Nice, but House Party should be in that top 25, homie. Plus honorable mention to Belly, Do The Right Thing,, Colors, New Jack City, Deep Cover, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, and Fresh.


This is Roy Martin from Spotlight-DVD. Just to let ya'll know, this brother is 100% official and from the heart of inner-city Boston. I'm co-signing right now! You're killing me Dart!

My list would start with Wild Style at the top, but this is a bully-ass list homie! I'm tuned in.

Roy Martin

alley al said...

word. you fuckin me up with these lists.. like i don't fuck around enuff on just music, now i gotta get into more shit!?! LOL