Music News

Music News

Music News

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06: Producer Shawn Carter AKA Jay-Z attends "The Harder They Fall" World Premiere during the 65th BFI London Film Festival at The Royal Festival Hall on October 06, 2021 in London, England.

Hip-Hop is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. While the genre is one of the youngest, its impact has been massive. The genre originated in the early ’70s in New York in African-American communities in the Bronx. Hip-hop starts with the music: rapping, DJing, and freestyling. But those elements led to others, including breakdancing and graffiti art.

Hip-hop has been in the mainstream in ways that its founders never would have dreamed.

“When we started on this journey decades ago, we were often told, ‘No.’ No, you won’t be able to leave New Jersey. No, if you rap, you can’t sing. No, singers can’t become actresses. No, actors can’t also produce,” Queen Latifah said to Entertainment Weekly in a statement as she is set to become the first female rap artist to be celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors.

“To now be recognized amongst so many multi-hyphenates feels unbelievable, not for just me and my team, but for our community. I’m beyond grateful for this recognition.”

RELATED: 2023 BET Awards: 10 Of The Best Performances

Throughout this year, hip-hop has been celebrated in performances by some of the greats. At the 2023 BET Awards, there were performances by MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, The Sugarhill Gang, D-Nice, Warren G, Yo-Yo, Trick Daddy, Trina, Uncle Luke, Redman, Erick Sermon, and Keith Murray — also known as “Def Squad,” and more highlighted rap on Culture’s Biggest Night.

Earlier this year, Questlove curated a hip-hop tribute at the 2023 Grammy Awards where Missy Elliott, Run DMC, Salt n Pepa, Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash, Ice-T, Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes with Spliff Star, Nelly, GloRilla, Lil Baby, and more took to the stage. That led to a summer tour featuring the Roots and LL Cool J where they were joined by different hip-hop legends at each stop on the tour.

If you have been a fan since the beginning or you’ve just begun listening, you’ll learn more from these projects. Take a look at five documentaries on these hip-hop artists:

  • Biggie and Tupac (2002)

    Biggie and Tupac is a full-length documentary on the lives and tragedies of the hip-hop icons, both of whom were taken from us far too soon. Besides footage of Biggie and Tupac, you will also see appearances from Snoop Dogg, Lil Cease, and more. You can stream Biggie and Tupac on Amazon Prime Video.

  • Fade to Black (2004)

    Jay-Z is one of the best rappers ever. The New York native’s 2004 documentary Fade to Black shows fans how he got started. At the center of this film is Jay-Z’s sold-out Madison Square Garden concert in 2003… which, at the time, were supposed to be his final shows. There are appearances from his wife Beyoncé, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and more. It took about 15 years for this documentary to be available to stream and it is worth the wait. You can stream Fade To Black on Tidal or Amazon Prime.

  • Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy (2022)

    Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy takes us back to where it all began for Kanye West: the Southside of Chicago. Kanye West’s artistry has impacted hip-hop like no other, as his diverse skills in producing and designing put him in a league of his own. You can stream Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy on Netflix.

  • Nas: Time Is Illmatic (2014)

    Nas: Time Is Illmatic takes a deep dive into Nas’ iconic debut album Illmatic. In the New York native’s documentary you will also hear accounts from Alicia Keys, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes and Pharrell. You can stream Nas: Time Is Illmatic on Peacock.

  • Eminem: Count Me In (2023)

    Fuse TV - Eminem: Count Me In

    Fuse TV - Backstage presents Eminem's rise to fame as one of the most influential hip-hop artists of all time.

    Eminem has had quite a career in hip-hop and this documentary takes a look at many of his accolades. In 2022 he performed at the Super Bowl alongside Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, and 50 Cent. He was also inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year for his contributions to hip-hop. You can stream Eminem: Count Me In on Amazon Prime Video.

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