Beat Street

Beat Street

:"Beat Street" may also refer to Orange Street in Kingston, Jamaica."Infobox_Film
name = Beat Street


caption = "Beat Street" movie poster
director = Stan Lathan
producer = Harry Belafonte
David V. Picker
writer = Andy Davis
David Gilbert
Paul Golding
Steven Hager (story)
starring = Rae Dawn Chong
Guy Davis
Jon Chardiet
Leon W. Grant
Saundra Santiago
cinematography = Tom Priestley Jr.
editing = Dov Hoenig
Kevin Lee
distributor = Orion Pictures
released = June 6, 1984
runtime = 105 min.
country = United States
language = English
budget =
music = Arthur Baker
Harry Belafonte
Webster Lewis
awards =
amg_id = 1:4476
imdb_id = 0086946|

"Beat Street" is a 1984 mainstream hip hop dramatic feature film, and the second following "Breakin'". It is set in New York City during the popularity rise of hip hop culture in the early 1980s.

The movie was the East Coast answer to the Los Angeles-set "Breakin'," displaying break dancing, DJing, and graffiti with a mild social undertone. Some of the plotline was based on the graffiti documentary "Style Wars". Most visibly, the villain character "Spit" in "Beat Street" was lifted from the way the real-life graffiti artist "Cap" was portrayed in "Style Wars".

Notable performances include a song by Grandmaster Melle Mel & the Furious Five, breakdance battles between the New York City Breakers and the Rock Steady Crew, and cameos by beatboxer Doug E. Fresh, Richard Lee Sisco, and the Treacherous Three.

Background

The project began when journalist Steven Hager began writing visiting the South Bronx to document break dancing, graffiti art and rap music in the early 1980s. Hager sold his script to Harry Belafonte.

Production

Many of the internal dance sequences were filmed at the popular New York City nightclub the Roxy located at "515 West 18th Street" in the Chelsea section of Manhattan.

Most of the graffiti art that was displayed all throughout the film was not done by real graffiti artists - it was airbrushed by set decorators.

Cast

* Mary Alice - Cora
* Afrika Bambaataa
* Jon Chardiet - Ramo/Ramon
* Rae Dawn Chong - Tracy
* Doug E. Fresh
* Crazy Legs
* Guy Davis - Kenny
* Leon W. Grant - Chollie
* DJ Jazzy Jay
* Kool Herc
* Kool Moe Dee
* Melle Mel
* Saundra Santiago - Carmen
* Robert Taylor - Lee
* Richard Lee Sisco Jr.

Kadeem Hardison is credited as "High School Student" in the film. However, his scenes are all cut from the final theatrical version.

Singer Brenda K. Starr has a small cameo in the film as a young singer auditioning at an open call audition.

Contrary to popular (internet legend) belief, RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan was not actually in the movie. Some rumors have floated around the net stating that he is the guy in the black hat rapping during the Roxy auditions scene. However, RZA has gone on the record stating he was NOT in the film. In fact, RZA would have only been 15 at the time Beat Street was filmed, and clearly the gentleman in the black hat is much older than 15.

The two young break dancers auditioning during the Roxy try outs were known as The Fantastic Duo. The younger, shorter one is known as Young God (Robert Steele). The older kid is known as Loose Joints (Jamel Brown).

The final performer at the audition, whom most believed was not an actual performer, was known as Andy B Bad. The song he performed was actually released on vinyl.

oundtrack

This was the first American film to feature more than one soundtrack album. Originally, Atlantic Records, which released the soundtrack albums, had three volumes planned, but only two of these were released. The second volume was never released on compact disc.

The trailer includes an alternate version of the title song performed by Kool Moe Dee, a version which also was not featured in the movie or on the original soundtrack albums.

Volume 1:
# Beat Street Breakdown - Grandmaster Melle Mel
# Baptize the Beat - The System
# Strangers in a Strange World - Jenny Burton & Patrick Jude
# Frantic Situation - Afrika Bambaataa
# Beat Street Strut - Juicy
# US Girls - Sha Rock, Lisa Lee, Debbie D
# This Could Be The Night - Cindy Mizelle
# Breaker's Revenge - Arthur Baker
# Tu Carino/Carmen's Theme - Ruben Blades

Volume 2:
# Son of Beat Street - Jazzy Jay
# Give Me All - Juicy
# Nothin's Gonna Come Easy - Tina B
# Santas' Rap - The Treacherous Three
# It's Alright By Me - Jenny Burton
# Battle Cry - Rocker's Revenge
# Phony 4 MCs - Ralph Rolle
# Into the Night - La La

Impact

* The film is mentioned in episode 12 of "The Boondocks" while Robert "Granddad" Freeman discusses Riley's graffiti masterpiece.
* Rapper Notorious B.I.G in his song "Suicidal Thoughts" said, "Should I die on the train tracks like Ramo in Beat Street/ people at my funeral frontin' like they miss me."
* Rapper Ras Kass in his song "Won't Catch Me Runnin'" said, "When my voice hits the mic, I electrocute Spit like Beat Street".
* Portions of the Beat Street Breakdown scene can be downloaded from video sharing sites YouTube and MySpace.

Beat Street’s impact was felt internationally as well as throughout the United States. In Germany, for example, movies like Beat Street and Wild Style are credited with introducing the hip hop movement to the country. Because movies are so easily distributed over borders, part of the importance of this movie lay in its ability to influence both East and West Germany, which at the time were still divided. [Brown, Timothy S. "Keeping it Real in a Different Hood: (African-) Americanization and Hip-hop in Germany." In The Vinyl Ain't Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture, ed. by Dipannita Basu and Sidney J. Lemelle, 137-150. London.] Beat Street was of particular importance in the East, where it is said to illustrate for young people the evils of capitalism [Brown, Timothy S. “‘Keeping it Real’ in a Different ‘Hood: (African-) Americanization and Hip-hop in Germany.” In The Vinyl Ain’t Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture, ed. by Dipannita Basu and Sidney J. Lemelle, 137-50. London; A ] . Because the film focused so heavily on the visual aspects of hip hop such as breaking and graffiti, these aspects had the heaviest influence on the emerging German hip hop scene. ["Beat Street" http://www.fast-rewind.com/] It was precisely these visual aspects that helped bring about hip hop culture in Germany, rather than simply a genre of music. Beat Street appeared in the Democratic Republic at almost the same time as in the west. Dresden, the center for the Beat Street scene was geographically out of media range, making it a perfect center to explore this genre of music. The hip hop scene from the entire public would meet for break dancing competitions, rapping competitions and graffiti spraying [Elflein, Dietmar. "From Krauts with Attitudes to Turks with Attitudes: Some Aspects of Hip-Hop History in Germany." Popular Music, Vol. 17, No. 3. (Oct., 1998), pp. 255-265. ] . Puerto Rican and African-American breakdancing, rap and freestyle dance sound, and inner-city American graffiti made up what Germans knew as hip hop culture. The aftermath of Beat Street propelled events such as competitions in rapping, break dancing, and graffiti spraying throughout Germany [Elflein, Dietmar. "From Krauts with Attitudes to Turks with Attitudes: Some Aspects of Hip-Hop History in Germany." Popular Music, Vol. 17, No. 3. (Oct., 1998), pp. 255-265.] .

External links

*
* [http://www.mgm.com/title_title.php?title_star=BEATSTRE Official site]

Notes


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