This year, rap publication The Source celebrates its 25th birthday. Considered by many to be “the hip-hop Bible,” the publication has been a cornerstone of the hip-hop culture, impacting everything from breaking new artists to making “5 Mics,” the coveted highest honor the magazine awards an album, part of the hip-hop lexicon. Starting Friday, BAM is paying tribute to the magazine with The Source 360 Film Festival. Boasting three days of hip-hop cinema chronicling the Source era, we’ve assembled this guide to everything you need to know about what’s playing.
See also: The Top 20 NYC Rap Albums of All Time
This 2009 Biggie biopic does suffer somewhat from the same condensed rose tint that all music biopics seem to (were you aware that Biggie was the single greatest person who has ever lived?), but it does get props for the incredibly matched likenesses of the actors to the people they’re portraying. Even the kid from those old People PC commercials does a great Lil’ Cease. Notorious screens Friday with a Q&A with cast member Antonique Smith.
Time is Illmatic
One of the most talked-about entries at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, Time is Illmatic is the documentary chronicling rapper Nas and the making of his debut masterpiece, which, as you may have heard, turns 20 this year. The Source has an important tie to Illmatic, as it remains one of only two debut albums ever to receive 5 Mics honors. (Trivia buffs: The other was Ice Cube’s Amerikkka’s Most Wanted.) It also screens Friday, with an intro by director One9 and writer/producer Erik Parker.
The Man With the Iron Fists
After seeing what he could do with albums and film scores for years, 2012 saw Wu-Tang mastermind and kung-fu flick enthusiast RZA make his feature-length directing debut with The Man With the Iron Fists. Saturday’s screening will also feature a Q&A with RZA himself.
Rhyme & Reason
The 1997 Peter Spirer-directed Rhyme & Reason is an important piece of hip-hop cinema: a rap documentary from a time when not many rap documentaries were being made. Smack dab in the middle of rap’s controversial ’90s, at a time when the culture was barely 20 years old, you have hip-hoppers giving their take on hip-hop’s origins and where they see it going. As a result, the doc features everyone from Tupac to Chuck D. Saturday’s screening will also feature a Q&A with rap pioneer and original writer of “Rapper’s Delight” Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers.
Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
The mention of the name Dave Chappelle today usually first conjures memories of one of the funniest people ever to walk the earth, followed by the reminder that he left behind fortune, fame, and scheduled regular output to find his true self. There was a time before that latter half was in the equation, and the last project of the pre-abandoning-Comedy Central Chappelle was 2005’s Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, directed by Michel Gondry. Saturday’s screening will invite you to take a trip back a decade ago, to when Chappelle was putting together the ultimate Clinton Hill block party — one that featured both a young, newly famous Kanye West and the quickly aborted Fugees reunion.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 19, 2014