Top Five Movies That Influenced Hip-Hop Culture

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Rappers love to imagine their lives as movies. They see bits of their lives on the big screen and turn to those cinematic treasures to help them make sense of their immediate environment: "If Tony Montana can rise to meteoric heights, so can I; if Frank Lucas can make it out of the game alive, so can I."

Over time, these themes have gradually imbued hip-hop culture with a tinge of fiction. And while that line between reality and art is sometimes fuzzy, the influence of these five movies on hip-hop is undeniable.

5. Shaolin & Wu-Tang

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Kung-fu movies and hip-hop have been romantic partners since the '80s, when B-boys would incorporate martial arts moves in their battles. But in the early '90s, the RZA gave the style a bear hug, sampling tons of underground Hong Kong movies on Wu-Tang albums. Shaolin & Wu-Tang, in particular, inspired the group's name.

Five other Wu-inspiring movies: Five Deadly Venoms, The Four Assassins, The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter, Wu Tang vs. Ninja, The Iron Monkey.


4. Beat Street

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A big chunk of hip-hop's film history comes directly from the culture. Take Beat Street, for instance. Everything about this movie screams "hip-hop." Beat Street is to breakin' what Wild Style is to taggin'. Much like Charlie Ahearns' movie, it captured hip-hop in its formative stages, everything from the clothes to the lingo. A young DJ named Kenny (portrayed compellingly by Guy Davis) is at the center of this Bronx-set love story.



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8 comments
ArchieLeach
ArchieLeach

I LOVE Gordon Liu!  Master Killer (The 36 Chambers of the Wu-Tang) is my favorite!

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

Pee Wee's Big Adventure must be added, also.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

King of New York.  It would take weeks to count all of the sound-bites rappers have used from that movie.

KING
KING

Good list, but The Warriors has to be in there somewhere. Has to be.

Rizoh
Rizoh

That's a good one.

Rizoh
Rizoh

Lousy omission on my part.

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