With the recent success of the movie Straight Outta Compton (120 million and counting), we here at One track Mine got to thinking; what other stories in hip-hop would make pretty awesome feature films /movies? There are so many dynamic storylines in the hip hop genre after all that it’s really only a matter of time before Hollywood execs are releasing “Straight Outta Compton Part 7 – When Serena Met Kendrick.” So if you’re listening Hollywood, you should probably pick one of these OTHER stories instead of being left to your own devices and butchering my culture. And for good measure, I’ll even throw in the director best suited for the formidable task because no one wants to see Tyler Perry Presents “On The Clock; The Autobiography of Flavor Flav.”
Grab The Throne; The Life and Times of Jay Z – Directed by David Fincher
Set in the dimly lit hallways of The Marcy Projects and Bed Stuy Brooklyn, Grab The Throne tells the story of Jay-Z’s transition from drug dealer to artist to becoming one of the largest selling artists in hip hop music. Gravy who played B.I.G. in Notorious could easily revise his role as Biggie Smalls. Something alsotells us Michael B. Jordan would make as excellent Hov. Who better than David Fincher (Fight Club, Social Network, Seven) to bring out the complexity of Jay-Z’s persona? The Roc is in the Building!!
All In The Same Gang – Directed by Martin Scorsese
This Martin Scorsese directed documentary focuses primarily on the effect hip-hop has had on gang violence in America. With continuous scrutiny of lyrical content in hip hop music, specifically the glorification of violence, All In The Same Gang questions the merits of this argument by comparing gang violence pre and post the rise of gangster rap in America. When exactly did gangster rap and actual gangsters intersect, if at all? Is there more of a correlation between the negative images in Hollywood movies than the negative messages in hip-hop music? All these questions and more will be answered. Coming no time soon to a theater very far from you.
Enter The Wu – Directed by Quentin Tarrantino
Shot entirely on site in Killer Hill (Park Hill), Staten Island and similar to Kill Bill meets Pulp Fiction, Enter The Wu tells the story of each individual member of the Wu Tang Klan in detail and how they would eventually form one of the biggest hip hop groups in history. This movie would of course have enough karate and Kung Fu sequences to empty out several Shaolin temples. This is why Tarantino was hired to direct the project in the first place, so Kung Fu away!
How The South Was Won – Directed by Spike Lee
In a world where only East Coast and West Coast emcees were respected, there was a rumble in the southern music scene that couldn’t be ignored. Two rappers destined to rise to fame would have to overcome all obstacles and ignorances. This is a story of artistic dissension. This is a story of Big Boi , Andre “3000” Benjamin and the Dungeon Family. This is the story of Outkast.
Hustle Like Russell – Directed by Guy Ritchie
Russell Simmons is a pioneer in hip-hop and one of the most successful and influential figures in the genre. What better way to pay homage to this mogul than with a fast paced, intricately woven tale of the rise of Def Jam Records, told in a manner that only Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Sherlock Holmes) can? Set in Manhattan in the early 80’s, Hustle Like Russell weaves through the seedy record industry, drug induced nightlife and the struggles of convincing white America that Run D.M.C, The Beastie Boys and L.L Cool J were the future of music.
And there you have it. Can you think of any other stories that would make great movies?
Janita – Three Songs She’d Love to Have Written
Janita’s newest album Here Be Dragons is another in a progression of finely crafted hymns for the empowered. Whether by love, as in the silky “I Do,” or by subverting expectations, in the Beatlesesque “Not What You’re Used To,” Janita draws on lessons learned during a positively unique career that spans decades and continents. We caught up with Janita on the heels of her latest single “When It’s All Up To You” to find out three songs she’d love to have written.
Elliott Smith — “L.A.”
This is one of my favorite songs by Elliott Smith. I listened to the full album Figure 8 a lot while I was writing the songs on my new album, and it was a huge influence on me both melodically and lyrically. This song in particular has also informed some of the production choices we made later, like the heavier guitars you hear on my song “Not What You’re Used To.”
“L.A.” is incredibly melodic, but there’s an elusive, haunting quality to it. It feels like you’re always trying to reach it, catch up to it somehow. The backing vocals accentuate that feeling. In my mind, the song paints such a vivid picture of the ephemeral, fickle nature of L.A., and the similarly transient nature of the main character. Elliott Smith himself? I don’t know exactly how he does (did) it, but I’m certainly in awe of it.
Radiohead — “There There”
So hypnotic. So badass. Could the production possibly be any cooler? The melody is intricate and beautiful, and I can relate to the lyric from every which angle: as the singer, as the one being sung to, and whether in love relationships, friendships, or with total strangers. The subject matter simply comes up in life in so many ways all the time… I recently tried to express similar notions as I was writing a song, only to remember that it was already done here perfectly. Goddammit.
Punch Brothers — “Julep”
This song is simply magical to me. It’s made me bawl my eyes out at a Punch Brothers concert two separate times. It’s like that viral video that was circulating some years ago of a baby moved to tears when her mom sings a sad tune. I’m that baby when it comes to this song. It simply hits some sort of primal button in me and keeps pressing it until the very end.
While you’re at it, check out Janita’s video for “Digging in the Dirt,” a funky and faithful rendition of the Peter Gabriel classic.
New Music – Bachelor
Jay Som’s Melina Duterte and Palehound’s Ellen Kempner join forces as Bachelor – a musical powerhouse whose new record Doomin’ Sun drops May 28th on Polyvinyl.
Kemper and Duterter recorded the album during two weeks of mutual appreciation in California. Three visceral singles have been released in the lead-up, including the Pixies-flavored “Stay in the Car” and the sprawling “Anything At All.”
Bachelor has also announced the Doomin’ Sun Fest, a one-day livestream featuring Tegan & Sara, Courtney Barnett, Adrianne Lenker, Jeff Tweedy, Japanese Breakfast, Julien Baker, and more.
Self-Serving Interview with Electronic Device Does Little to Advance Musician’s Career
Two men that look suspiciously alike meet outside a fictitious Brooklyn hot-spot – six feet apart.
MC Krispy E: Very nice to meet you. (squints) Have we met before?
Electronic Device: Maybe?
MC Krispy E: Is the rest of the band joining us?
Electronic Device: (pause) I am the rest of the band.
MC Krispy E: You are Electronic Device? What’s that about?
Electronic Device: Uhm, yeah, it’s like a pen name. You know what that is, right?
MC Krispy E: I have some idea.
Electronic Device: It was actually the name of one of my dad’s companies back in the day before…
MC Krispy E: (looking at his watch) Wonderful. So… it says here you have a new single called “All Things Come to an End” inspired by the death of your brother.
Electronic Device: Yeah, after my brother died I recorded songs as a form of therapy in his old bedroom in Staten Island.
MC Krispy E: And now I read that you have cancer. Am I supposed to feel extra sorry for you?
Electronic Device: Uhm…
MC Krispy E: It sounds like this album is going to be super depressing.
Electronic Device: It’s not, I swear. I was looking for some happiness while recording these songs, there’s not much of an agenda beyond that.
Electronic Device: I wasn’t really thinking about influences while recording, but listening back I hear some Concrete Blonde, some Cracker.
MC Krispy: So bands no one is interested in?
Electronic Device: What the hell, man?
MC Krispy: Sorry, it’s almost like I can’t help it. What’s the single about?
Electronic Device: I hate saying what a song is about because everything is up for interpretation.
MC Krispy E: Humor us.
Electronic Device: I can say that “All Things Come to an End” has multiple narrators, some of which are unreliable.
MC Krispy E: (stares)
Electronic Device: And that one day I was at my Dad’s house and when I turned the corner into the hallway my Dad thought I was my brother for a moment, which was super sad because of course I couldn’t be.
MC Krispy E: And then you wrote a whole song about that.
Electronic Device: I guess so. When you put it that way…
MC Krispy E: (yawning) Tell us when the single come out.
Electronic Device: The single is out now. The album comes out in 2021.
MC Krispy E: Well, good for you. And good luck with that cancer thing.
Electronic Device: Yeah, you too.
MC Krispy E: Thanks. What?