Episode 53

full
Published on:

31st Jan 2024

Why is Wild Style required viewing for hip-hop fans? (With Andrew "DJ ARM 18" McIntosh)

Hip Hop Movie Club and Andrew "DJ ARM 18" McIntosh discuss last week's magical ArtsQuest event celebrating Wild Style at SteelStacks in Bethlehem PA . It was a blessing to be in the building for this action-packed night that featured:

  • a screening of Wild Style (1982)
  • a panel discussion with director Charlie Ahearn, Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers, and GrandMixer DXT
  • a DJ set by DXT
  • a performance by the Cold Crush

Topics discussed:

  • Bringing Wild Style to ArtsQuest
  • The cultural significance of Wild Style
  • Comparison with Beat Street and Breakin'
  • The impact of Cold Crush Brothers
  • Has the Cold Crush received their flowers?
  • Upcoming events

Also check out:

Our original episodes on Wild Style, Beat Street, and Breakin'.

The Hip Hop Years and VH-1's NY77: The Coolest Year in Hell

Hip Hop Movie Club will be back with ARM at SteelStacks to host a screening of Juice on February 28 (and Krush Groove in March).

Check out ARM's 50 Years Down the Line site for more events, including "Fresh Dressed Like a Million Bucks" on February 24 and a conversation with Chuck D of Public Enemy on April 16.

Credits

Hip Hop Movie Club is produced by your HHMCs JB, BooGie, and DynoWright. Theme music by BooGie. Follow @hiphopmovieclub on Instagram!

Transcript
Speaker:

Welcome to Hip Hop Movie Club, the show

that harmonizes the rhythm of hip hop with

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the magic of movies.

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50 episodes ago, we here at the Hip Hop

Movie Club reviewed the first ever hip hop

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film, Wild Style.

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And last week, the Hip Hop Movie Club

received a blessing that was completely

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inconceivable when we reviewed this film

nearly two years ago.

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We met the director Charlie Ahearn, Grand

Mixer DXT, and the Cold Crush Brothers at

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a special screening, panel discussion, and

performance at ArtsQuest.

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Bethlehem PA.

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Coming up, we have the man responsible for

bringing this event to life, Andrew

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McIntosh, aka DJ ARM 18.

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We're three old heads who put their old

heads together to vibe on these films for

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you.

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I'm DynoWright, filmmaker, longtime

hip-hop fan, and I can't believe I dapped

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up Grand Mixer DXT the man who turntabled

on Herbie Hancock's "Rockit".

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I'm JB, 80s and 90s nostalgia junkie, long

time hip hop fan, and I'm equal parts

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fresh fly wild and bold.

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Yes, I can attest to that.

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I'm BooGie, a DJ, long time hip hop head.

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And I wish that every night was like the

one we were about to talk about.

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Today on the show, ARM will tell us why

Wild Style is required viewing for all

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hip-hop fans and we'll give you five more

takeaways from this important film and

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screening.

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How this event came to be, the cultural

significance of Wild Style, how it

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compares with Beat Street and Breakin',

the impact of the Cold Crush Brothers, and

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whether the Cold Crush truly got its

flowers.

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All right, so welcome ARM 18, Andrew

McIntosh.

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Thank you so much for bringing this

special event to the masses, at least to

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Lehigh Valley.

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And first question I have for you, why

were you inspired to bring Charlie and the

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Cold Crush Brothers to ArtsQuest?

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What inspired you?

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There's actually a long backstory to this,

and I'll try to be as concise as possible.

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I was very fortunate in coming up in the

90s to have run with some heads that came

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from the city who were graffiti writers

themselves, and they were fellow college

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students of mine.

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They go by JERE from DMS out of Queens and

the late Chase from ST7 Staten Island.

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and they put together something called the

Raw Arts Symposium.

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And this was a weekend long event, I would

say 96 this happened.

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And it was an incredible sort of mixing

and matching of bringing graffiti artists

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up to the Bard College campus in upstate

New York, where we had REVS, COST, Lady

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Pink, and another artist I can't quite

remember.

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and they kicked it off with a party.

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Like, right, we did a party out in the

middle of the woods, highly illegal or

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whatever, and I was DJing it, it was

great.

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And then the next day, the artists came

and they did installations, they did live

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installations, right, of their graffiti

art while I was DJing.

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And so the campus is like coming down to,

it's like this watch party of graffiti

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being happening.

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And then it was followed up with like this

long panel in one of our auditoriums where

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they talked to the graffiti artists about

their work.

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And then of course there was a party.

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Like it was like, I did three parties in

like 24 hours.

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It was like, I loved it.

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And then I think the final day there was a

showing of Wild Style, right?

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That was like the end.

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Cause like my man Chase Malcolm said to

me, like when I showed up at Bard as a

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freshman, he was like,

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Have you ever seen Wild Style?

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And I was like, I've heard of it.

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And he was like, you haven't seen it?

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I was like, no.

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And he was like, he said, it's a rite of

passage, B.

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Like you just got, you gotta see it.

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And that phrase, rite of passage always

stuck with me.

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And so when I finally got my hand on a VHS

copy and I was blown away by it, I kept

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rewinding the scenes with Grandmaster

Flash over and over again, cause I was

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learning.

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It was the first time I could really watch

a DJ cut a record.

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But that's when Wild Style was sort of was

injected into me.

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And I've always kept the Raw Arts

Symposium like in the back of my mind is

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like, I wanna do something like that.

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That was an incredible weekend of

celebration, of art being made, like, you

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know, real time.

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And then also just this, you know, taking

in and showing of Wild Style.

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And so that's where it got its start.

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you know, many, many moons ago.

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And I got this opportunity this, this year

in the celebrating a 50 years of hip hop

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at Northampton Community College in

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to put on a

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variety of events.

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And this is, this is one of the key, like,

you know, uh, key events that we're doing

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this year.

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We did, worked with a lot of regional

artists in the fall.

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Uh, BooGie came to one in Stroudsburg PA,

like, you know, we've, we've had, uh, and

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also in Bethlehem, right?

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Uh, we've had a lot of good work with

local graffiti artists, local DJs, local

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rappers, entrepreneurs, et cetera.

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But the Wild Style kicking off 2024, you

know, the showing of Wild Style at steel

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stacks in Bethlehem, PA, that was going to

be our first big signature event.

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And so I was like, how do we, you know, we

got to get Charlie there.

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How can we get Charlie there?

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Uh, I was fortunate to have a friend from

Bard who has worked with Charlie on

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in some of his other movies who put me in

touch with him.

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And I kind of had in the back of my mind,

Charlie was gonna be the key that opens

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doors.

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I had met him at Cornell University of 10

years ago at the 30th anniversary of Wild

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Style.

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And I saw how all the performers and

artists from that movie, Charlie's their

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dude.

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Like that they'll ride for him, you know.

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They have a lot of respect and love for

him because he put them on and gave them

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this opportunity.

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And so once I secured Charlie, I then

started calling around to artists and

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said, listen, I'm working with Charlie

Ahearn and he's coming out.

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Like, are you willing to come out?

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And we've got Cold Crush.

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And I would say, I want to be clear, like

Cold Crush was, they were down and

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enthusiastic from day one.

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Like once I got a hold of them and, and

their manager, Cora Brown, a big shout to

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her.

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She was at different times.

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It was like, Andrew, you sound so nervous.

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This is going to work out just because

it's okay.

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And she really held my hand.

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through a lot of the planning and

organization and contacting people, and

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then finally acquiring GrandMixer DXT as

well, to be a DJ component, you know, and

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represented at the event.

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So that's from soup to nuts, from the

first time I experienced Wild Style to

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what we experienced this last weekend,

that's how it all came together.

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It's an amazing backstory.

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backstory.

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Nice.

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Awesome.

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Yeah, and it was a smashing success.

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I was telling these guys, I was like, man,

this event deserves mass media.

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So we'll be the media right now to try to

bring it a little bit out to the masses

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because it did get picked up by Rock the

Bells Instagram.

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You saw that Rock the Bells had some

footage that they obtained and put it out

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there.

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They have one point one million followers.

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That's amazing.

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So.

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It's big time.

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Yeah, I love how Rock the Bells supports

artists like Cold Crush.

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You know, that's crucial.

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It's amazing, yeah.

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And actually I was at the Rock the Bells

Festival in Queens in the summer and

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Grandmaster Caz and Cold Crush were one of

the opening acts.

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He had that jacket all blinged out from

Rock the Bells at the event if you saw him

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afterwards.

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So next question I have is, and you kind

of touched upon this a little bit, but

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what is the cultural significance of the

movie Wild Style?

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You know, in addition to it being like

every, you know, B-boys rite of passage, I

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would say the thing that I believe was

discussed during the panel discussion,

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what I would say in my classroom is that

what you're seeing in Wild Style is the

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moment.

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It's a fictional movie, but everybody

who's playing a part in that movie was

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down with the hip hop scene since day one.

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So what you're seeing is the moment in

which

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In my mind, I'll say the old school became

the new school where hip hop moved from

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uptown to downtown.

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The whole movie, if you think about it, if

you think about Zoro and the character of

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Zoro, imagine Zoro representing not just

graffiti, but all of hip hop.

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Zoro represents like the whole struggle

these performers and artists are having

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with, wait, I've got opportunity on one

hand, but then there's keeping it real on

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the other.

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How can I, how do I manage these things?

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How can I make some money but not get

ripped off, right?

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How can I do my art but it still have

integrity?

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And that's a huge question for hip hop at

that moment, right?

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And all that energy is in Wild Style, like

that tension in my mind of like, this is

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no longer just a folksy grassroots, you

know, rough around the edges, like you

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have to be there.

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musical performance movement, it's about

to blow up.

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Right.

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And that's what Wild Style captures.

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It's just that, that it's like, it's, it's

like when a bomb drops and it's like

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silent and then it like blows, like it's

like that moment and everybody who's in

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it, they were there.

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There's no Hollywood actors, et cetera.

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So they're getting a platform to sort of

replicate and showcase what they did in

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the Bronx for 10 years.

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right there for you on screen.

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You know what's funny is it's so well

ahead of its time.

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I put it out there and you see that the

riches that could come from it, like they

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had the car, the limo, they got the

ladies, the party lifestyle.

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And it's like, wow, fast forward and then

look at all the music videos that we've

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seen in the past couple of decades.

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And that just got amplified exponentially.

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Yeah.

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And I mean, it's an interesting thing,

right?

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We witnessed a little bit of in the Q&A

between, you know, Caz and DXT and Charlie

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and myself, a little bit of the tension

that exists in the purpose of hip hop,

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right?

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Like what is it, you know, is it for a

party or is it to speak upon why hip hop

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is the way that it is, right?

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Like hip hop is the way that it is because

it's coming from these, you know, from a

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particular community.

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The Bronx was...

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utterly abandoned in the 1960s and 70s and

was a shelled out like, you know, war zone

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in the way that there was virtually no

civil services and arson was rampant and

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et cetera.

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And out of this comes these kids making a

name for themselves, right?

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And so there's this great story of

triumph, but there's also this opportunity

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to talk about the grant, like great

inequities that exist in our society.

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And I think what we saw a little bit

between DXT and Caz was like,

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Well, are we here to celebrate Wild Style

or are we here to like, you know, really

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kind of break it down, you know?

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And it was me as an educator, I thought

that was wonderful because we as an

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audience got to witness, well, hip hop's

both of those things.

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It doesn't have to be an either or, you

know?

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Right?

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And so it was kind of a key moment.

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You're absolutely right, JB.

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It's like...

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Wild Style embodies all the elements of a

party and a good time that we know hip hop

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to be about and to celebrate, but it's

also, it doesn't turn away from the fact

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that the Bronx was utterly dangerous place

to live and to dwell and to try to create

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this art.

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Yeah, there was a stick-up scene and

everything.

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It was dangerous.

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Next question I had was, if you could do

us a favor, compare Wild Style with some

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of the other more popular hip-hop-themed

movies that would soon follow, such as

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Beat Street and Breakin'.

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Yeah, I mean, listen, as a kid living out

in Pennsylvania, I saw Beat Street and

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Breakin' like long before Wild Style,

right, because why?

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They had the distribute, you know, what I

understand now is they had the

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distribution, they had the Hollywood

reach, et cetera.

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And those movies have a certain virtue in

their own right, but they are, they sort

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of take a look at the template that Wild

Style provided, and they essentially

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appropriate it, you know?

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I would argue that Beat Street's a little

more effective than Breakin', you know?

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And once you get to Breakin 2, Electric

Boogaloo, it's like, you know, it's

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laughable.

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It's more just entertainment, if anything.

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It seems pretty removed from the whole

thing that hip hop is about.

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But Beat Street, you know, it's a similar

story, right?

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trying to make a name for themselves, et

cetera.

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The difference is, it's just, at different

times, unless it's the Rock Steady Crew in

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it, like a lot of the party scenes are mad

stiff and like, you know what I mean?

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They're very, it's obviously scripted and

maybe a little bit better acted.

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But at times it comes off in my mind as

contrived.

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Those movies come off in a way that isn't.

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feels wholly authentic, you know?

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Yeah, definitely you see the Hollywood

sheen on Beat Street and Breakin' for

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sure.

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Whereas Wild Style is raw, uncut.

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Some of those rap scenes go on for like

15, 20 minutes in Wild Style.

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And I'm just loving it.

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And it's just like, you're at a concert.

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It literally puts you, puts you there.

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Yeah.

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Straight lyrics, no hook.

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Hahaha

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So we had the great pleasure to meet the

Cold Crush Brothers, thanks to you.

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And how much credit do you feel the Cold

Crush Brothers deserve as hip hop

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trailblazers?

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Um, you know, it's not just me.

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I mean, earlier, I think within the last

hour on January 30th here, uh, DJ Doo Wop,

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right?

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Um, uh, great mixtape king at, uh, out of

New York in the:

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A lot of greatest rappers of all time.

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Oh, their entire careers to Grandmaster

Caz, you know, and I'm like, Wow.

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Okay.

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I guess we're vibing the same way right

now.

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Me and Wop like you, you are, you're

correct.

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JB, like the, the Cold Crush as a, as a

unit and then

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and then Caz is their leader.

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I was talking to their manager and I'm

like, you know what, people talk about

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raising the bar and it's Cold Crush.

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They are the bar.

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You know what I mean?

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That's what you need to aim for.

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I think what we witnessed in person, in my

mind, that is so extraordinary is four

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individuals with a DJ Ultimate, their DJ,

who

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you know, stands in for Tony Tone, their

original DJ, they are, are rapping in

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unison for 30 plus minutes.

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I mean, there's, there's not one

microphone feedback.

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There's not one missed line.

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There's not one like pause where they're

able to exchange verses or rap or sing in

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unison while a DJ is cutting up the beat

or dropping the beat.

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You know, there's no, there's no DAT.

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There's no pre-programmed.

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It's just five individuals who have these

routines, you know, or you could sit here

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and say, well, it's been 40 years.

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Of course it's mastered.

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But if you go back and listen to tapes,

they're on YouTube.

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They were rhyming like that back in the

day.

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They, they practice that hard back in the

day.

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They invented rap.

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Like there was rapping before this.

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This is what I always try to say in my

classroom.

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Like Isaac Hayes rapped, you know, James

Brown rapped King heroin, like.

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Millie Jackson rapped, like all sorts of

people rapped and rhymed.

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That was that's a part of the

African-American, you know, expression,

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right, like preach, you know, Black

preachers.

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They're basically rapping from the pulpit.

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But what Cold Crush did and, you know,

people like Melle Mel and the Furious Five

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and others.

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But what Caz and them did was they were

like, you know what?

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Rapping is not just like a novelty.

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It's not a joke.

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It's not like a game.

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Like I'm a performer.

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Right.

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And you see how they modeled themselves

after Motown groups, right?

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You got the - Yeah.

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Right.

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I knew it.

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I was going, I was going there.

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When I saw that in person, like the way

that they're playing off each other, like

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the Temptations, like the Four Tops, and

I'm like, oh my God, I get it now.

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I get it because that makes sense because

that's who they grew up on.

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That's who they grew up on.

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And they're like, you know, we're going to

be that, but the hip hop version of it.

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So that's, that's to me, you know, the,

the real legacy of the Cold Crush

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brothers, they're one of the, you know,

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I don't know what the exact number is.

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I'm gonna say a dozen, okay?

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Like give or take, give or take a couple,

but of groups that have just set the

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standard of what rap, like what rapping

could be as a musical, like art form, you

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know?

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And they made it out a whole cloth.

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Nothing, you know, it didn't exist before

then.

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It's amazing in that regard.

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And then let's, I didn't get a chance to

say it in the, in the panel.

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I would like to say it here.

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Grandmaster Caz is the author of the

number one, the first rap commercial hit,

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Rapper's Delight, Sugarhill Gang.

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And you could go find video of Caz talking

about it.

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The Hip Hop Years is one of the

documentaries where he comes out and

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explains what happened.

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I won't go into it here, but he didn't get

that credit when it happened.

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So, Sugarhill Gang drops Rapper's Delight

and they become a household name, but

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those are Caz's rhymes.

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So the record that helped hip hop music

cross over throughout the United States

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and throughout the world, that's

Grandmaster Caz, you know?

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And I think that's another big piece of

his legacy.

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That was huge.

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I had heard a lot of that story.

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So yeah, I definitely was aware of that.

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So that being said, you know,

unfortunately these guys, they never

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really got that record deal and they

talked about that at the panel.

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Now in your opinion, do you feel that the

Cold Crush Brothers have sufficiently

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received their flowers yet for their

contributions to hip hop?

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In I do I do you know, but I think that's

a part of the work that I was trying to do

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was that Okay, you go on Sirius XM radio

and Caz is on there, right?

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You you can't you can't look at many

documentaries that are about the

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development of the culture and Cold Crush

and Caz aren't referenced Or interviewed

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like Caz is a great interview, right?

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So he's in You know, he's in uh, I highly

recommend uh VH-1's

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NY77: The Year from Hell, which is about

the year:

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Caz is all in that and you get to hear

about how he started as a DJ before he

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became a performer.

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It's, it's great.

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And I do think that they've gotten a

certain amount of acknowledgement, right.

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But that said, that's why we do the events

we do out in Eastern PA, because I'm going

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to assume there were a lot of people there

that was watching Wild Style for the first

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time.

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That was their first rite of passage.

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That was, you know,

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They'd never seen a group like Cold Crush

perform in person.

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And so I think they, as long as our

legends are here, they should get that

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platform.

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We should be supporting them where we can.

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Yeah.

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Right.

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So Andrew, I think those are all the key

questions that we had regarding the event.

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We definitely want to thank you again for

bringing it to Lehigh Valley and to the

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masses.

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It was an awesome celebration of original,

authentic hip hop between the movie Wild

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Style, having Charlie Ahern there and

Grandmaster Caz and the Cold Crush

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Brothers and Grand Mixer DXT.

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We are eternally grateful for this

opportunity.

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So thank you so much.

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Well, word up, thank you for saying so.

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And, you know, I feel like it's, I mean

this when I say being introduced to you

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all as the Hip Hop Movie Club and watching

your passion and energy, the time you're

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putting into hip hop movies, awoken in me

like, yes, like these movies, we need

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that, you know, let's give them the

platform.

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Let's discuss them.

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Let's break it down.

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This is, we need to do this.

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And so, you know, that-

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The work you're doing with the podcast is

a point of reference for me.

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I just keep at it, keep doing it, I'm

loving it.

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Yeah, I might just watch Just Wright.

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Maybe, maybe.

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When you told me the basketball scenes

aren't like, they're mid, I don't know,

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I'm like.

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Ha ha

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We give you the five takeaways, that's a

new thing.

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We give you the five takeaways, and but

hey-

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a, that's a, that's a, that's, that's

helpful to us, for us.

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Yeah.

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If you like rom-coms and you don't mind

predictability, like we said, go for it.

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You don't expect an Oscar award

performance, but you will see legends.

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You'll see Queen Latifah, you'll see

Common, and if you're a NBA fan, you'll

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see some cameos from some folks that were

pretty big time as well, like Dwayne Wade

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and Dwight Howard, et cetera.

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So yeah, if you want to do some

stargazing.

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your next event coming up.

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Oh, we're, well, we, you know, which one,

which one DynoWright?

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Cause we're working on something and I

know you guys will be talking about it,

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but I'm looking forward to working with

you, you all to present Juice and Krush

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Groove at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA.

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In continuation of our celebration of 50

years of hip hop history and culture,

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Northampton Community College is putting

on an event in South Bethlehem.

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with taste smokers, which you guys are

pretty familiar with now, right?

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Where there are two fashion designers in

the Lehigh Valley who will be showcasing

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two Black American fashion designers

showcasing their materials.

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In February, in March, I'll be connecting

with the author, Shanita Hubbard, and

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talking about Black feminism within hip

hop culture and how to be a Black feminist

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and love hip hop at the same time.

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Is that possible?

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Yes.

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that conversation in downtown Bethlehem.

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And then our other signature event is our

keynote speaker, Chuck D of Public Enemy.

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On Tuesday, April 16th, we'll be coming to

Northampton Community College's Bethlehem

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campus for a chat like we're having right

now about the history of hip hop and the

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history of Public Enemy.

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And it should be good.

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All these events are free.

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You can get your tickets, check out the

website.

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50yearsdowntheline.com.

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You'll find links to reserve your tickets

there.

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So by all means, come through.

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We will put these links out on our

platforms for everyone to know about.

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So thank you for that.

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Yeah, word up.

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Thank you guys.

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I appreciate the opportunity to connect

with you.

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I love these conversations.

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It was a pleasure.

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Yep, as do we.

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Alright.

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Hip-Hop Movie Club is produced by your

HHMC's JB, BooGie, and DynoWright.

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Theme music by BooGie.

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In addition to all that, we've got a bunch

e events in the first half of:

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coming up.

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You can learn more at our website,

hiphopmovieclub.com.

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Come hang with us, especially at those

events in Bethlehem.

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Thanks, Andrew.

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All right, I'll check you guys out later.

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Talk to you soon, peace.

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you.

Show artwork for Hip Hop Movie Club

About the Podcast

Hip Hop Movie Club
Harmonizing the rhythm of hip hop with the magic of movies
HHMC is brought to you by a trio of longtime hip hop fans: JB, an 80s and 90s nostalgia junkie, Boogie, a veteran DJ and graffiti artist, and DynoWright, podcaster and filmmaker.

Upcoming Hip Hop Movie Club events:

Feb 28 - Juice screening and talkback, SteelStacks, Bethlehem PA
https://www.steelstacks.org/event/15642/juice/

Mar 27 - Krush Groove screening and talkback, SteelStacks, Bethlehem PA
https://www.steelstacks.org/event/15656/krush-groove/

More events to be announced! Subscribe to our newsletter and get updated on events: https://hiphopmovieclub.substack.com/