To celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, The Criterion Channel will put on a classic hip-hop movies program. As reported by Pitchfork, the streaming service will highlight specific hip-hop films that showcase "intimate and informative portraits of musical expertise and technical wizardry, and definitive, star-studded evocations of the culture’s impact." The director for Criterion, Ashley Clark, released a statement about the classic hip-hop movies being spotlit.
"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." The 18-film list drops on August 1st. This allows fans to peruse the catalog for the rest of the summer and watch some all-time hip-hop classics.
Which Classic Hip-Hop Movies Are Available To Stream?
As Clark mentioned, Style Wars and Wild Style are part of the 18 classic hip-hop movies Criterion is rolling out. Other films about to stream include Do The Right Thing, Belly, Boyz n the Hood, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Paid In Full, and Poetic Justice. A Tribe Called Quest's documentary, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, will also be available. The Criterion Channel will put all of these titles on its main page beginning on the first of August.
All of these films have something to do with the tradition and transition of hip-hop in the mainstream cultural canon. Without these early classic hip-hop movies, projects like Mile 8, Hustle & Flow, and Straight Outta Compton would have never happened. These films are a masterclass in what made hip-hop tick in the 80s and 90s and how roots mean a great deal to a music genre steeped in rich history. Criterion has not said whether or not they'll keep the films on the channel indefinitely. It's time to submerse ourselves in classic hip-hop culture.