Jeff Chang sets the stage for hip hop’s origins in the late 1970s, the Bronx.

Framing Graffiti

From the beginning, hip hop challenged the dominant frames used to define people and communities.

Wild Style

Wild Style is the earliest film to document  hip hop’s four elements.


Isaac Hayes won multiple Grammys  and an Oscar for Shaft‘s soundtrack.


Ron O’Neal’s portrayal of Youngblood Priest creates one of Blaxploitation’s most charismatic antiheroes.

The Mack

[E]very great rapper is not just a documentarian, but a trickster…. — Jay Z (Decoded, 55)


Without Rudy Ray Moore, there would be no Snoop Dogg, and that’s for real. —Snoop Dogg (2006)


Ice Cube starred, produced, and co-wrote the script for this “stoner buddy comedy” film.

Kung Fu Cinema

Hong Kong cinema made a central contribution to hip hop’s early ethics and aesthetics.

36th Chamber

Acknowledged as one of the greatest martial arts films of all time, 36th Chamber had a huge impact on hip hop.

Wu Tang Clan

The importance of kung fu films is signaled by the group’s first album title, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

Exam 1

In Spring 2018, Exam 1 is available from Friday, March 23, through Sunday, March 25 at 10 p.m.

Gangsters 1

The crack epidemic and the “War on Drugs” heavily influenced hip hop’s early content and aesthetics.


The gangster film, a classic American genre, was re-envisioned for the millennium.


Among hip hop’s many icons, Tupac Shakur remains unique, in both music and cinema.

Straight Outta Compton

In the late 1980s NWA faced boycotts, censorship, and FBI threats. In 2015 their biopic became the nation’s number one film.

Dee Barnes

Though invisible in Straight Outta Compton, Dee Barnes remains an important part of hip-hop’s history.

Set It Off

One of the things this film is about: the proper role(s) for women within commercial hip hop’s gangster cinema and gangster rap.

Missy and Nicki

In ways different and similar, two artists have made their mark in 21st-century  commercial rap music. 

Beyond the Lights

While Beyond the Lights sets up an opposition between rap and R&B, a recent collaboration suggests kinship and solidarity.