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Wild Style, written, directed and produced by Charlie Ahearn, was the first hip-hop movie

Written, directed and produced by Charlie Ahearn, Wild Style, the first hip-hop movie was released in 1983.

The movie featured Grandmaster Flash, Fab 5 Freddy, Busy Bee, Lee Quiñones, Lady Pink, The Rock Steady Crew, The Cold Crush Brothers, Queen Lisa Lee of Zulu Nation, Zephyr, and Blondie’s Debbie Harry. Wild Style tells the story of a graffiti artist named Zoro (played by Lee Quiñones) and included all the elements of hip-hop, MCing, DJing, graffiti and b-boying.

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As a part of New York’s downtown art scene, Director Charlie Ahearn had noticed the graffiti and hip-hop culture growing for a few years and decided to chronicle it.

“I was interested in making a pop movie,” Charlie Ahern told Red Bull Music Academy. “I knew that I should be documenting this thing, but I hated the idea of making a documentary. So the question is how can I make a pop movie out of this thing? To me, the Bruce Lee movies were the thing that I was most excited by. You go to 42nd Street, you go to see kung fu movies. I wanted something that could be on that level, something that could show on 42nd Street. My idea was to do what excited me most. There was no historical perspective. Let’s go on this trip, it’s like a cartoon version of what was happening.”

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