Because of Style Wars, a definitive hip-hop doc, PBS will forever occupy an honored place in hip-hop history. In 1983 not too many institutions of culture and learning took hip-hop very seriously, but PBS did. Of course, plenty props to Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant, the two men who conceived and shot this documentary, which captures the early days of the graffiti scene in New York, along with the other three pillars of rap: emceeing, dj-ing, and breaking. By airing this doc, PBS brought hip-hop culture into the homes of many, giving it an air of legitimacy, something we take for granted now.
If you've never seen Style Wars, you're making a mistake. This Thursday, Los Angele's Museum of Contemporary Art offers you the chance to correct this with a free screening of the seminal work. You know the conversation between the two writers that opens Black Star's "Respiration"? It comes from this movie: "...you know, in big, big you know, block silver letters, it said, 'Crime in the city.'"