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Beat This!: A Hip Hop History (1984)

TV Movie  |   |  Music, Documentary  |  1984 (UK)
7.8
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Easy A.D. ...
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Almighty K.G. ...
Himself
Arthur Baker ...
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Mr. Biggs ...
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...
Himself (archive footage)
Drew Bundini Brown ...
Himself (archive footage)
H. Rap Brown ...
Himself (archive footage)
Imhotep Gary Byrd ...
Narrator (as Gary Byrd)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Grandmaster Caz ...
Himself
Charlie Chase ...
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'Brim' Fuentes ...
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G.L.O.B.E. ...
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1984 (UK)  »

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Dated
21 December 2005 | by (Bristol, England.) – See all my reviews

This was a BBC production that was later put out on Video in the UK sometime around 1986 on video label called channel 5. The UK only had 4 TV channels at that time. If you are a fan of the era and the scene then this is definitely a worthwhile acquisition if you can find it (You can view it on the videos section of this site or youtube). Like style wars and wildstyle you will recognise that this has been cained as sample fodder and you will appreciate the opportunity to see a number of legends back in the day.

If you are not a particular fan of the genre then you will probably find your toes curling at those same legends, wondering whatever possessed them to dress up in some of the truly ludicrous attire that they wear here. Bam + Force posing as outer space galactic beings in fancy dress, flying down from planet Rok to put the Bronx in Future Shok! Grandmaster Caz and the rest of the Cold Crush indulging their Overtly swelled sexist alter ego's 'the heartbreakers' whilst wearing the campest attire. The Dynamic Rockers having the gayest Breakdance battle with themselves. These and many more moments are truly laughable! Yet fans of the genre probably would'nt bat an eyelid knowing that this was all part of an evolution that at that time, was still in its infancy. (I think some of the current practitioners of Rap still have'nt Grown up yet, but thats a whole different argument).

Between some of these contrived set pieces are some good interviews. Kool Herc gets his for being the catalyst to it all. Brim really holds it down on the Graffiti argument. This prompted the production to later tour him around the U.K. in their 1987 "Bombin'" documentary. Talk about standing him under the conservative media's cross hairs at such a young age. The way he held up is just a testament to that guys character. Malcolm Mclaren gives a good account of the first outsiders discovery of hip hop and gets mocked as the first outsider to exploit it. There is a host of small cameo's, Curtis Blow, Arther Baker, Lisa Lee, jazzy jay etc etc. Whilst it was done during that era before Rap called its own and kicked everyone else to the curb, it still isn't that comprehensive over all the elements. The spotlight only gets to a select few. However just for the fact that it's all set in the irreplaceable aesthetic of early '80s NY is enough for fans of the genre to appreciate this.


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