3 Movies Every Classic Hip-Hop Fan Must See

Even though it began 50 years ago in the 1970s, hip-hop music experienced a golden age in the 1980s and 1990s. And if the many classic albums, performances, and artists weren’t enough, there are also important films (read: documentaries) about the subject.

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We culled three significant offerings that document the decades when the genre of music was both forming and bearing major fruits. These are three documentaries every classic hip-hop fan should see.

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1. Style Wars (1983)

Directed by Tony Silver, this must-see documentary made just as the genre was taking shape in New York City showcases the branches of hip-hop, from graffiti and street art to break-dancing, rapping, fashion, and more. Want to know what it was like in the streets in NYC as a culture was being born? Then throw on this classic work. Check out the trailer for the film below.

2. Scratch (2001)

Released in 2001, this doc, directed by Doug Pray, showcases the art of the DJ in rap. When the music was first born it wasn’t about the rappers as much as it was the people making the beats. Yes, the DJs ruled in the original times. And here you can check out that history, from scratching records working the turntable, and more. Check out a trailer for the documentary below.

3. Beat Street (1984)

This 1984 drama, directed by Stan Lathan, showcases New York rap culture. It follows two brothers and their compatriots as they navigate the new and blossoming music and culture. This movie also highlights the aspects of the art, from rap to dance to street art. Check out a trailer for the movie below.

(Photo by Araya Doheny/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

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