Rap: Looking for the Perfect Beat

Poster for Rap: Looking for the Perfect Beat

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Rap music has articulated a black aesthetic that is influencing pop culture around the world. But does it also promote violence, misogyny, and crime? This program featuring rap master Melle Mel describes the history of rap and hip-hop from its roots in earlier oral and musical traditions to its full flowering in the mid-1990s. Commentary by Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa, rap’s early innovators; music critic Nelson George, author of hiphopamerica; radical jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron; movie star and rapper Ice Cube; former gangsta rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg; members of Public Enemy, Arrested Development, and the jazz/hip-hop fusion group UFO; and others speak out about the urban African-American experience, civil rights, social responsibility, and other pressing topics. Clips from music videos provide a visual perspective on the genre. Some images and lyrics may be objectionable.

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English / 50 min / 1995

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