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Hip-hop culture has permeated through all facets of pop culture. It’s in our fashion, music, television, and especially movies. Hip-hip movies have been around for a long time. Since their emergence during the 80s and 90s, they continue to be a riveting form of storytelling. Hollywood doesn’t have the best track record with black representation in film. Yet, Hip hop films have always come through the cracks. These movies are more than a good soundtrack. It captures levels of the black experience. Over the years, plenty of hip-hop films have made us laugh while others were not afraid to get real with us. Here is a list of 4 hip hop movies we can’t help but love!
- Friday (1995)
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F. Gary Gray demolished box offices with his hip-hop drama Straight Outta Compton. But in 1995, Gray made us laugh with his hilarious debut movie Friday. Ice Cube and Chris Tucker star as two best friends, the jobless Craig Jones and the crazy drug dealer Smokey. Smokey, living up to his name, ends up smoking up the marijuana he needed to sell for his supplier named Big Worm. Now, Jones and Smokey have to find a way to pay back Big Worm $200.
Though Friday is not a perfect film it makes up its flaws with humor and quotable lines like “Bye Felicia!”. The scenes with Jones and Smokey chilling on his porch are some of the most memorable in the movie. Friday is still considered one the most 90s best Hip Hop films ever.
2.) Brown Sugar (2002)
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A love story centered around the hip-hop entertainment industry? Brown Sugar is about as enticing as it sounds if you ask us. Starring The Best Man alums Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs, The story centers around the close friendship of Sidney and Dre. They have careers revolving their love of hip-hop music.
When Sidney learns her BFF is getting married, she doesn’t know how to cope at first. Meanwhile, shifts and changes occur within Dre’s job at Millennium Records, causing him to go out on his own. Yet his new wife, Reese (Nicole Ari Parker), is not feeling it nor is she cool with his close friendship with Sidney. From there, the two pals have to come to terms with their feelings for one another. Even if they are in separate relationships.
3.) Hustle & Flow (2005)
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Terrence Howard and Taraji Henson team up in this hip-hop indie film. Craig Brewer’s Hustle & Flow tells the story about a drug dealer and pimp named DJay (Howard). He who hates his life and dreams of making it as a rapper. He collaborates with Shug (Henson), his prostitute, who lends her vocals. His friends Key (Anthony Anderson) and Shelby (DJ Qualls) provide sound mixing. to the tracks that detail DJay’s life as a hustler trying to survive in Memphis, Tennessee.
The film brings out stellar acting performances. It’s catchy single “It’s A Hard Life Out Here For A Pimp” by Three 6 Mafia had us singing the chorus for days and months on end. It’s an essential movie that captures what it is like to make hip-hop music starting at the bottom.
4.) Set It Off (1996)
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Another awesome hip-hop film by F. Gary Grey but this time it’s a movie starring all our favorite ladies. Come on! How can we not talk about this one? It features Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kimberly Elise, and Vivica A. Fox as four BFFs. While each of these women faces financial hardship, devise a plan to rob a series of banks.
Many critics say this movie is Waiting to Exhale with a mix of Thelma and Louise. It’s energetic, has good action, and there’s a level of depth to these female characters. This movie is significant. Most hip-hop films have male-centered narratives. Set it Off breaks this trend by focusing on black female relationships.