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Film series celebrating hip-hop’s 50th anniversary announced on The Criterion Channel

Classic including Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, and the John Singleton movies Boyz N The Hood and Poetic Justice feature in the programme

Poster for The Criterion Channel's ‘Hip-Hop 50’ film series
The Criterion Channel

A film series celebrating 50 years of hip-hop is being launched by The Criterion Channel next month.

Beginning on 1st August, the programme will showcase the best films dedicated to exploring rap music's early origins, its key players, cultural influences and more. 

Among the series line-up are the 1983 films Style Wars and Wild Style, Spike Lee's 1989 classic Do The Right Thing, Jim Jarmusch’s RZA-scored samurai film Ghost Dog, Michael Rapaport’s documentary on A Tribe Called Quest, Hype Williams’ film Belly, and the John Singleton movies Boyz N The Hood and Poetic Justice. See the full schedule below.

Ashley Clark, the curatorial director for Criterion, said: “We’re extremely excited to present this wide-ranging series that highlights the incredibly varied ways that hip-hop has shown up in film since the culture’s birth 50 years ago.

“From raw, pivotal early documents like Wild Style and Style Wars onward, there’s something for everyone here, whether you’re an expert or a beginner.”

Legendary hip-hop producer DJ Premier kicked off 50th celebration last summer with an EP, 'Hip Hop 50: Vol 1', dedicated to tracing the rap music's origins to 1973 in the Bronx, New York. DJ Mag also spoke to the producer last year about how he stays inspired.

Other releases marking hip-hop's half century include Sony Music's double LP compilation dropping this month that looks at the genre's evolution, a photozine exploring hip-hop's early '80s culture, and a book featuring illustrations of iconic hip-hop artists

Run-D.M.C. are also set to headline an upcoming concert to mark hip-hop's 50th anniversary at New York's Yankee Stadium on 11th August. Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, Ice Cube, Eve, Ghostface Killah, Lil' Kim, Fat Joe and Slick Rick are also listed to play at the show, among other acts.

Meanwhile, earlier this year DJ Kool Herc and other key genre figures including as Missy Elliott and A Tribe Called Quest were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

Criterion Channel ‘Hip-Hop 50’ programme:

1st August
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

1st September
Do The Right Thing, Spike Lee, 1989
Boyz N The Hood, John Singleton, 1991
Poetic Justice, John Singleton, 1993

1st November
Belly, Hype Williams, 1998
Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz Club, Ivan Frank, 2008