Saturday, August 7, 2021

When Hip-Hop met skateboarding


ll the Streets are Silent: The Convergence of Hip-Hop and Skateboarding (1987-1997) sounds more like an academically oriented  piece of pop-cultural history than a documentary about a New York scene that gave helped give birth to Hip-Hop and skateboarding. New York City became the unifying element for a multi-racial, multi-ethnic subculture. Director Jeremy Elkin uses footage from the period and interviews with some of the key players, providing a vivid portrait of preoccupations that were entirely consuming for those who participated in the scene. Elkin also highlights some of the places that became focal points for this cultural burst: a skate shop named Supreme and a nightspot named Mars, where some important rappers found a breakthrough platform. Although its interests are highly specific, the movie tends to meander through many currents, including the story of the young people who were cast in director Larry Clarke's Kids, itself a kind of breakthrough movie. I wish that Elkin had done a bit more to situate his story in a larger context and to explore what aging has meant to people who maximized their creative powers when they were young. Still, if you want to know just how compelling this movement was for so many and how influential some of its more notable members (Busta Rhymes and Jay-Z for two) became, All the Streets will let you know.

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