Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tony Silver

Just read that Tony Silver, director of probably the greatest hip-hop documentary ever made, passed away on February 1st, after a two-and-a-half year bout with brain cancer.

Jen Carlson of Gothamist describes the aforementioned film, Style Wars:
Shot in New York City in the early '80s and originally airing on PBS in 1983, his documentary is considered to be the first film about hip-hop culture. While the 70 minutes covers rap and breakdancing, its main focus is on graffiti, which at the time was viewed by some as a groundbreaking art form. Style Wars shows an altered urban landscape and serves as a snapshot of life here in the early '80s, with a "cast" ranging from Mayor Koch to renowned graffiti taggers to the Rock Steady Crew to subway maintenance workers.
There's an excellent DVD of the film I can heartily recommend, or you can watch it on the screen below.

Not at all unrelated is this much-revered (and deservedly so) track from Mos Def and Talib Kweli's Black Star:

Black Star - Respiration (1999)

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