One of the main themes of our film The Curators of Hip Hop is independence. In our documentary film The Curators Volume 1: A Story of Independence, one sees five very different emcees at different stages of their career over the course of four years. The characters all speak for themselves and discuss how their personal lives have influenced and developed their artistic styles. Parallel with the story of the artists runs the story of “The Curators of Hip Hop,” the movement and brand. The Curators are all about seeking quality talent, preserving the hip hop culture, and promoting an aesthetic of authentic hip-hop.
The voices in this documentary give character and personality to the conversation about hip-hop today. Rather than getting political, we get personal. One emcee talks about losing his brother and how that tragedy becomes his motivation for making music. Another emcee was inspired to make music by listening to movie soundtracks. The conversation is simple. It’s about expression—honest and genuine emotion. The film humanizes hip-hop. In other words, it keeps it real.
Prie was included because we felt he had a style that people wouldn’t normally associate with Hawaii. In fact, his music sounded a lot like what one would imagine an artist from any major city might sound like, but he was doing all the recording out of a small bedroom home studio on an island in the Pacific Ocean. Logic was included because of his unique work ethic and his ability to attract listeners and fans independently. Dee-1 was an artist we came across in Washington, D.C. when he was on tour. We were especially interested in featuring Dee-1 after we saw his video “Jay, 50 & Weezy.”
Matt Reeves is an artist from Staten Island that has a very positive message and mission to live a certain, positive lifestyle. And Ahmad Lewis, who is from Los Angeles and who had success early on in the 1990s, is featured because his story reveals what it’s like to be both a signed and an independent artist.
In short, the artists are chosen because they show signs of will and determination without losing their sense of self.
The Curators of Hip Hop are qualified to tell this story because it is also our story. The relationships built with the artists in the film are real relationships. They were not created just for the sake of making a film. We are not trying to make any profound statements about hip hop to the point that requires validation or qualifications. The qualifications exist within the artists themselves and their stories. Hip-hop is a personal music, so our approach to this film was personal.
You can follow The Curators of Hip Hop on Twitter @TheCOHH.
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