I’m sure we all know how much of a busy body Kendrick Lamar is at this point. With arguably one of the greatest hip-hop albums of the decade under his belt and his next effort coming later this year, the California-based MC certainly has his hands full.
It looks like they’re about to get fuller as he’s commissioned a short film based on “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City,” aptly titled “M.A.A.D.,” that will premiere at the Sundance Next Festival tomorrow night. Directed by Kahlil Joseph, the 14-minute film will be “a kaleidoscope of storylines and ideas that defy typical categorization to explore new languages and new forms.”
Of course, Lamar isn’t the only MC with a short film to his name. It’s hard to argue that hip-hop hasn’t been embraced by many as a full-blown art form in its own right, even charting back to the first hip-hop art film “Breakspeare” by filmmaker Julie Covello. Here are six more examples of the art of hip-hop on film.
“Until The Quiet Comes” (Flying Lotus, 2012)
Also directed by Joseph, the film is a companion piece to the album of the same name that chronicles life and death in the Nickerson Gardens of Los Angeles and is backed by music by Flying Lotus himself, who also appears in a cameo.
“Runaway” (Kanye West, 2010)
Ye’s ambitious 34-minute film based on the hit song from “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” Directed by West himself, it’s an album length opus jam-packed with gorgeous imagery and proved West’s surprising talent for directing.
Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film (Jay Z, 2013)
Shortly after the release of “Magna Carta, Holy Grail,” Hova spearheaded an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art where he performed the titular song – for six hours straight – to an adoring crowd of both fans and curious onlookers.
“A Breathtaking Trip To That Other Side” (Alexander Spit, 2013)
Los Angeles-based MC Alexander Spit released this graphic yet gripping short film alongside his debut album of the same name back in 2013.
“No Regrets” (Joey Bada$$, 2014)
To accelerate the hype machine for his debut studio album “B4.Da.$$,” Bada$$ worked closely with director Rik Cordero to tell his story. We follow a much older Joey from the year 2062 as he travels 50 years in the past to help his younger self change the face of hip-hop. It’s a lot to unpack and Bada$$ turns in an impressive performance.
“Clapping For the Wrong Reasons” (Childish Gambino, 2013)
This companion piece to Gambino’s 2013 album “because the internet” documents a day in the life of the MC, real name Donald Glover, and close friends and family as they work on recording the album and just hang out. Featuring guest appearances from Flying Lotus, Chance The Rapper, porn star Abella Anderson, and a scene where Glover pulls a tooth out of his nose. Yea, this one’s crazy.
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