Want To See How Hip-Hop Started? Two New Shows Document Its Beginnings (Video)

It’s New York City in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and there is an underbelly of criminal and gang activity plaguing the Big Apple’s neighborhoods, a combination of socioeconomic and political environments that, years later, will help birth what is today the world’s most influential culture. This particularly dangerous era is documented by the new film, Rubble Kings, which opens nationwide this Friday (June 19, 2015). Directed by Shan Nicholson (whose 2013 film From Ruins They Rise documents the real-life story behind what inspired the 1979 film The Warriors), the film is narrated by Queens native John Leguizamo and includes interviews with cultural icons like Afrika Bambaataa and Kool Herc. However, it also features lesser known (but no less important) figures like longtime photographer Joe Conzo and Felipe Luciano of the Last Poets, who help illuminate the conditions which helped foster Hip-Hop’s embryonic stages.

Rubble Kings is additionally available for a $9.99 BitTorrent bundle. In addition to the film, the bundle includes hi-res images from the film, as well as a poster.

The film’s release serves as a prelude, of sorts, to The Get Down, a Netflix series slated for release next year. Early episodes will be directed by Baz Luhrmann (The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge) and will cast New York City in its rightful place in history as vitally important to the development of Hip-Hop, Disco, and Punk. While an official release date has not been announced, the official trailer is here. Check it out.

Both projects may remind Heads of the 1979 documentary 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s, a gripping chronicle of African-American and Puerto-Rican street gangs in the South Bronx, including the infamous Savage Skulls and Savage Nomads. As Hip-Hop continues to influence lifestyle around the world, projects like these help to ensure the preservation of both its empowering and dark beginnings.

Related: The Rich History of Latino Contributions to Hip-Hop Are Detailed in a New Audio Documentary (Video)