Thursday, April 27, 2006

beat this! a hip hop history (bbc 1984)

arcane, sublime and ridiculous, see malcolm mcclaren, kool herc and sha rock amongst the theatrical intergalactic zulu nonsense. perhaps one for hip hop fans only, who will no doubt enjoy it merely for the sake of sample spotting (largely from gary byrd's excellent rhyming narration). but then again, it's surely a curiosity to behold for anyone wih a passing interest in the genre, in the new york of the early 80s, or in the bbc at its best, in its pivotal, tipping-point cultural role.

so hip hop broke through for many in the UK when the bbc broadcast the 'buffalo gals' video on top of the pops in 1982 (causing outbreaks of breaking in school playgrounds up and down the land); or when, like me, a few years later, they heard ll kool j on john peel. where this documentary fits into that, i'm not sure - i've never heard anyone cite it as an founding influence (perhaps it was late night, midweek, bbc 2, tucked away where no one would notice it) - and i for one only saw it a good fifteen years after its broadcast. but there it was, and here it is.

update: this video can now be found here. thanks crawf.

(with props to andrew for the initial tip-off.)

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