– On this day in 1984, Orion Pictures released Beat Street, a cult classic film in the eyes of many early hip-hop aficionados.
Hip Hop Introduced to Mainstream America
33 years ago today, an American drama and musical/dance film, Beat Street, hit theaters. The movie was set in New York City during the time of hip-hop culture’s major uprising. For those who grew up in this era, Beat Street was a major part of the culture at the time and helped to further increase the already growing hip-hop fan base.
Beat Street tells the story of a group of teens growing up in New York City as they aim to make it out of their impoverished neighborhoods using the skills they’ve acquired through hip-hop. The movie could even be described as an inspiration for shows like Netflix’s now discontinued series, The Get Down. However, Beat Street obviously contains more authentic style, lingo, and dance moves despite its mediocre acting and cinematics.
Nonetheless, Beat Street is often referred to as a cult-classic not because of its cinematic quality, but because of its raw energy and the fact that it introduced so many to a new world. In fact, it is is strongly credited for bringing hip-hop culture to all of Germany despite it being separated by East and West at the time. This visual helped to launch public hangouts and competitions centered on emceeing, breakdancing, and graffiti spraying.
There were also a number of superstar cameos and performances featured throughout the film including appearances from Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force, DJ Jazzy Jay, Doug E. Fresh, Grandmaster Melle Mel & the Furious Five, DJ Clive “Kool Herc” Campbell, The Treacherous Three, and more.
Check out the classic B-boy battle at The Roxy below.
Written by DJ Robinson