Wild Style Vs. Style Wars: Definitive Documentaries on Early Hip Hop Culture. (Documentary Review)

There are precious few films more iconic than Style Wars for documenting a previously mysterious youth subculture shortly after it’s inception, widely regarded by many as criminal – even dangerous to others. Released in 1983 and originally airing on PBS, the film chronicles the early roots of Hip Hop culture, including rapping, breaking and most importantly; graffiti. The film found it’s way to various screenings and film festivals, eventually winning the Grand Jury prize at Sundance. Style Wars was directed by Tony Silver, who passed away in 2008.


If there was any movie that was to rival Style Wars as far as content in terms of cultural value, it’s Wild Style. Producer/Director Charlie Ahearn went to work on it in the summer of 1980, after being approached by Fred Braithwaite, AKA Fab Five Freddy – to make a film about the all encompassing Hip Hop movement. The film included some of the most iconic figures from that era, including The Cold Crush Brothers, Grandmaster Caz, Busy Bee Starski and Grandmaster Flash, among many others. Wild Style is widely regarded as the most accurate film depicting Hip Hop culture.

One fateful night in NYC, a crowded theater held a double screening for both films. The memorable event has just been commemorated in Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree comic series. See it below, and watch Style Wars in it’s entirety. Go here to pre-order a copy of Hip Hop Family Tree Volume 2; due out later this year.
(via Boing Boing)



*UPDATE* Youtube pulled the video, but you can still watch Style Wars in it’s entirety by clicking on the link below.



You may also want to check out:
Ed Piskor :: Hip Hop Family Tree :: Hip Hop History in Comic Book Form
Beat This! :: 1984 Documentary Profiles The OGs of Hip Hop Culture
Borough to Borough :: A Trip Down Hip Hop Memory Lane

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