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The Hip Hop documentary film has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. It has essentially become an important and indispensable way to document the culture for future generations of fans.  Recently, cable channels VH1 and BET have tried their hand at making memorable Hip Hop docs with VH1’s “The Tanning Of America” and BET’s “The Message”, which will air on Wednesday June 4. But it’s also important to remember and commend past Hip Hop docs that have done a great job of bringing different parts of the culture to light for the masses. Here are 10 such documentaries that have done just that.

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BET's the message

from BET.com

Earlier this year, VH1’s “The Tanning of America”, a Hip Hop-centered documentary based on the popular book of the same name from music industry veteran and advertising executive Steve Stoute, aired in a four-part docu-series. “Tanning” essentially took a very historical yet business-like and celebratory view of Hip Hop and how it has changed America socially, culturally and economically in a four-part series that aired on VH1.

Focusing on the birth and growth of Hip Hop, how it brought many socioeconomic issues to the forefront that were once swept under the rug, and how it came to invade spaces within corporate America once thought untouchable by a genre of it’s ilk, Stoute used “Tanning” presenting Hip Hop as a formidable pop culture movement that has grown to change more about American than we once thought.


Soul singer Charles Bradley will continue to bring the “artistry, gratitude and boundless enthusiasm (Village Voice)” on display during his live shows to stages thoughout 2013, in support of his latest album Victim of Love (Dunham/Daptone). In addition to his previously announced late-summer tour stops including Lollapalooza, FYF Fest, Bumbershoot and a headline show at Williamsburg Park in Brooklyn, ?The Screaming Eagle of Soul? just announced December North American dates. Fans can hear a preview of Bradley?s soul stirring live show today on World Café: http://www.npr.org/programs/world-cafe

By now, Bradley?s remarkable, against-all-odds rise has been well documented: how he transcended a bleak life on the streets and struggled through a series of ill-fitting jobs before finally being discovered by Daptone’s Gabriel Roth. The documentary Charles Bradley: Soul of America, directed by Poull Brien, follows Bradley?s extraordinary journey during the electrifying and transformative months leading up to the release of No Time for Dreaming. The film premiered at SXSW 2012 and will be screened at select theaters across the country in coming months (current screenings listed below). The film will also be available to purchase on DVD August 6 via the Daptone store (pre-orders available now) as well as digitally via iTunes starting July 16.

The year following the release of No Time For Dreaming was one triumph after another: a stunning performance at South By Southwest; similarly-gripping appearances at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Newport Folk Festival and Outside Lands (to name just a few); television performances including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Last Call with Carson Daily, and spots on Year-End Best Lists from Rolling Stone, SPIN, GQ, Paste and more. Victim of Love sees Bradley emerging from his past heartaches stronger and more confident, overflowing with love to share.

?vocal passion that knows no age? – New Yorker

?Bradley emotes with a powerful sense of anguish that at times cuts you to the core?
NPR ?All Things Considered?

?Because Charles Bradley is a one-man soul wrecking crew?
Rolling Stone, ?Best of Rock?

Charles Bradley: Soul Of America – Documentary
Movie Trailer – http://youtu.be/uegzZWp6Y4w

Purchase Pre-Order Links
DVD, Out Aug 6 via Daptone Store – http://bit.ly/12XG2DC
Digital, Out Jul 16 via iTunes – http://bit.ly/15wcsL0

Screenings –
Jul 12 New York, NY – The Rocks Off Film Festival
Jul 16 Duluth, MN – Zinema
Jul 20 Washington, DC – AFI Theatre
Jul 26 New York, NY – Lincoln Center
Aug 22 Bellingham, WA – Pickford Film Center
Aug 28 Portland, OR – Hollywood Theatre
Sep 25 San Francisco, CA – Roxie
Sep 27 Brooklyn, NY – BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music)

Tour Dates
Jul 11 Bilbao, Spain – Bilbao BBK
Jul 13 Juan-les-Pins, France – Jazz à Juan
Jul 14 Rotterdam, The Netherlands – North Sea Jazz Festival
Jul 15 Munich, Germany – Tollwood Sommerfestival
Jul 18 Dour, Belgium – Dour Festival @ Club Circuit Marquee
Jul 20 Henham Park, England – Latitude Festival
Jul 21 Carhaix-Plouger, France – Vieille Charrues Festival
Aug 03 Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza
Aug 04 Montreal, QC – Osheaga Music and Arts Festival
Aug 10 Burnaby, BC – Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival
Aug 11 Regina, SK – Regina Folk Festival
Aug 17 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
Aug 18 Lyons, CO – Folks Festival
Aug 20 Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
Aug 23 San Diego, CA – Belly Up Tavern
Aug 22 Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre
Aug 24 Los Angeles, CA – FYF Fest
Aug 27 Crystal Bay, NV – Crystal Bay Club Casino
Aug 28 Salt Lake City, UT – State Room
Aug 29 Boise, ID – Visual Arts Collective
Aug 31 Seattle, WA – Bumbershoot
Sep 01 Bellingham, WA – Wild Buffalo
Sep 04 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
Sep 05 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
Sep 06 Arcata, CA – Van Duzer Theatre
Sep 07 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom (Music Fest NW)
Sep 14 Burlington, VT – Grand Point North Festival
Sep 20 Brooklyn, NY – Williamsburg Park (Daptone Soul Revue, FREE SHOW)
Dec 04 Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
Dec 05 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
Dec 06 Chicago, IL – The Metro
Dec 07 Bloomington, IN – Bluebird
Dec 08 Grand Rapids, MI – Pyramid Scheme
Dec 11 Kitchener, ON – The Centre In The Square
Dec 12 Toronto, ON – Kool Haus
Dec 13 Ottawa, ON – Ritual
Dec 14 South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground

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Peep this dope mini-documentary of the legendary rap duo, UGK. It takes an introspective look at the “Kings of Trill” from some of the top rappers from the South.


This past weekend, VH1 aired the 2012 documentary “Marley” on the life and music career of Bob Marley.

“Marley” takes a very introspective look at Bob Marley’s early days in Jamaica and his rise to stardom and crossover success. The rock documentary takes fans inside his personal life, revealing a few new tidbits of information on one of the most important figures in world music.

30 years after his death in 1981, Bob Marley’s legend has grown larger than life. With a renewed interest by a new generation of music lover;, Marley’s name and image has been attached to new music releases, t-shirts, websites and products globally.

“Marley” is the perfect documentary for those who already think they know everything there is to know about Bob Marley. One of the greatest things about Bob Marley is that, even though we think we know everything about him, we always learn something else. So here are a few facts that I’ve learned about one of my favorite artists of all time.

1. Bob Marley worked as a welder.

After marrying Rita Marley and trying to make his way as a struggling artist; Bob eventually moved to the United States with his mother Cedella Booker, where he found work in a car plant as a welder. Having no passion for work, Marley eventually left the U.S. for Jamaica and went back to his music full time.

2. Peter Tosh once referred to Bob Marley as “my student”

Peter Tosh along with Marley and Bunny Wailer was an original member of The Wailers. Tosh is credited as saying “Bob Marley was my student,” because legend has it that he was the one the taught Bob how to play the guitar. However, in an interview later in his career, Bob Marley claimed to be a self-taught guitar player. Who’s telling the truth? We’ll probably never know?

3. The Wailers debut album, Catch a Fire, included elements of blues/rock guitar to appeal to British and American listeners.

Island Records founder Chris Blackwell knew that for The Wailers to be successful, he had to market them as a black rock group. So, he employed American musician Wayne Perkins to add this element to the album.

4. When Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer left ‘The Wailers’ to pursue solo careers, the group nearly lost their record contract.

It wasn’t as smooth a transition from the original Wailer’s lineup to the one that made its debut on the Natty Dread album in 1974. Many rumors say that Peter Tosh left the group stemming from a backstage altercation with Bob while they were on tour, while some say both Peter and Bunny left because of bitterness towards Bob starting to receive top billing. Regardless, the group was on the brink of losing their deal with Island Records once it happened. Subsequently, Bob and the band formulated a plan to include the backing vocals of Marcia Griffiths, Jody Mowatt and Bob’s wife Rita, collectively known as the I-Threes, and the new Bob Marley and The Wailers was born.

5. Bob Marley belonged to a church/organization in Jamaica known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Eventually growing to be a staunch Rastafarian, Bob did his best to adhere to many of the edicts and rules that were set forth by his faith. In the Twelve Tribes, Bob belonged to the Tribe of Joseph and made this fact known by using a quote from the Bible about Joseph on the Rastaman Vibration album.