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Classic DVD Review: Various Artists | Through the Years of Hip-Hop Vol. 1

This 40-minute hip-hop documentary paints a portrait of taggers & street artists.

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This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


The four pillars of hip-hop culture are graffiti, break dancing, DJing and rapping. Of those, most folks are probably only interested in two — and graffiti probably isn’t one of them.

But that’s what you get in Vol. 1 of the four-part series Through the Years of Hip-Hop. This 40-minute documentary chronicles the evolution of inner-city street art from kids who “tagged” their names on buildings to spray-painters who turned subway cars into mobile murals. And while the subject matter turns out to be more interesting than expected, the public-access production values, grainy file footage and poor pacing leave much to be desired. The bonus footage — seven classic rap videos from the likes of Run-DMC, Queen Latifah, Rob Base and De La Soul — are more like it, though. Here’s hoping Vol. 2 pumps it up a bit.