This is the Life
In 1989, a group of teens eager to push beyond the boundaries of gangster rap met weekly at the Good Life, a health food store in South Central Los Angeles, to break new ground – both lyrically and musically – in the world of hip hop, in a safe, positive atmosphere. Their most famous rule? No profanity allowed. Soon, a movement was afoot that spawned some of the most artful, experimental rap music ever, with groups Jurassic 5, Freestyle Fellowship and the project Blowed Collective amongst its best known alumni.
Selma director Ava DuVernay’s award-winning documentary is a smart, sharp exploration of this fruitful breeding ground for a subgenre that would come to be called conscious or alternative hip hop, celebrating its self-determination, activism and the struggle for independent voices and creativity.
Crackling with energy, it’s a must-see hip hop documentary, a rare chance to look back at a time when hip hop was more about block parties and barbecues, and less about music videos, bling and record deals. As Jurassic 5’s Cut Chemist puts it in his interview: “Something like that couldn’t happen in any other city, in any other part of the world, at any other time. It was perfect”.
Director: Ava DuVernay
97 mins, 2008, USA
Part of Come the Revolution… a series of screenings, discussions and special events to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of minister, author, self-made man, political activist and civil rights leader – the complex, controversial and charismatic Malcolm X.