The Criterion Channel announces film series commemorating hip hop’s 50th anniversary

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Independent streaming service, The Criterion Channel, is programming a film series in celebration of hip hop’s 50th anniversary. The series begins August 1, and showcases influential films from the early days of rap music, as well as those documenting the genre’s key figureheads and cultural influences.

A tweet from Criterion described the “18-film 50th anniversary celebration” as a “mixtape of the cultural phenomenon’s finest movie moments” with a “stunning line-up of legendary musical figures”.

Some examples of films included are Spike Lee’s impactful 1989 hit Do The Right Thing, Jim Jarmusch’s sword-filled Ghost Dog (scored by Wu Tang Clan’s RZA), the 1983 films Style Wars and Wild Style, John Singleton’s legendary, Academy Award-nominated Boys N The Hood and his 1993 romance Poetic Justice starring Janet Jackson. The series also features documentaries like Michael Rapaport’s Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.

Read this next: 10 of the best ’90s hip hop music videos

Throughout the year, key players in the rap game around the world have conducted their own hip hop 50 celebrations in the form of concerts, tours, battles, compilations and exhibitions.

On the 50th anniversary of hip hop website, a message form Ice-T reads: “Let’s make the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop a time to engage. Look to the future, support, effect change!”

Last summer, the pre-celebrations began with production hall-of-famer DJ Premier’s release of ‘Hip Hop 50: Vol 1’, an EP committed to journeying through raps origins in the Bronx during 1973.

The full programme list can be read here:

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)

Tiffany Ibe is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow her on Instagram

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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