The Hip-Hop 50 celebrations continue. The Criterion Channel throws its hat into the ring, announcing that it’ll start streaming a “mixtape” of pivotal hip-hop films in August to highlight the culture’s rich film history and influence on cinema. Included in the collection will be documentaries like Style Wars and Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest, early features such as Wild Style and Krush Groove, and of course, what hip-hop film collection would be complete without Hype Williams’ hood classic feature debut, Belly?
Coming to @criterionchannl August 1HIP-HOP, an 18-film 50th anniversary celebration! This mixtape of the cultural phenomenon’s finest movie moments features a stunning line-up of legendary musical figures with films like STYLE WARS, BELLY, DEEP COVER, POETIC JUSTICE, and more! pic.twitter.com/ofFQDX2xSO
— Criterion Collection (@Criterion) July 11, 2023
It looks like the collection will be released onto the platform in roughly chronological order, mirroring hip-hop’s growth from a local youth movement with films like Beat Street and Krush Groove coming in August, while September will see entries from the late ’80s and early ’90s when hip-hop began to burst onto the national scene. Those will include Boyz n the Hood, Do the Right Thing, and Poetic Justice. Then, in November, you can watch the triumph of the platinum era, Belly, as well as its sequel Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz Club (which suggests that maybe Criterion couldn’t secure rights to quite as many of hip-hop’s most important feature films as perhaps it would’ve liked).
For a list of more hip-hop films — specifically documentaries — worth checking out, here’s a list we wrote a few years ago.