The 80 Blocks to Tiffany’s Reference from the last post inspired some video crate digging. Check out this 20/20 clip on hip-hop from 1981.

It is reported to be the first nationally-televised news story on hip-hop…ever. Though in some respects the verbiage almost sounds like an SNL skit because it’s so rudimentary, it is also incredibly deep on some levels: 1. it’s fascinating to see footage on the beginnings of the culture, 2. it’s amazing to see the growth of hip-hop, both as a movement itself and in terms of its impact on the world, 3. even 30 years ago, hip-hop was seen as something that could impact both education and the vote (c.f., Black President) and 4. there are some truly prophetic statements: “Rap is likely to influence popular music for years to come. It has tremendous staying power.” Nearly all other popular outlets dismissed hip-hop as a fad at the time, so that was a very bold and unconventional statement. Blondie also said of rap: “It removes the middle man. It’s like direct communication.” Sound like any other platforms that have come to prominence over the last few years?…I learned about this piece in The Big Payback by Dan Charnas. If you have not picked it up, it is an absolute must for any fan of hip-hop. It is the gift that keeps on giving. Here’s the 20/20 clip: