From books to TV shows, we love pretty much everything that the ego trip crew does. So when we heard they were hosting a monthly film screening in NYC, we knew it would be something special. The series, called Under The Influence of ego trip, features a selection of carefully-curated documentaries from the early hip-hop era and will be screened each month at the Maysles Institute in Harlem.

The first screening is tomorrow night (Thursday, January 28) at 7:30 p.m., and it features two intriguing movies we didn't know much about: 80 Blocks From Tiffany's and Shotgun. To find out why these two documentary gems are worth checking out, we asked the ego trip guys to break down each movie and explain why they chose to bring it to the people. See ego trip's take on each movie below...

80 BLOCKS FROM TIFFANY'S (1979, Directed by Gary Weis)
Screening Thursday 1/28/10 in NYC: Click Here To Buy Tickets

EGO TRIP'S TAKE: "For anyone who thinks the gangs of '70s New York were accurately represented by the face-painted, lumber hugging "Baseball Furies," or overall-wearing, rollerskater-led "Punks," you urgently need to familiarize your uncivilized self with 80 Blocks From Tiffany's. It's a stupendous chronicle of the pre-hip-hop South Bronx and the real life characters of two of the area's most notorious "families"—the Savage Skulls and Savage Nomads.

"The thing that makes the film so unique (and in turn why we at ego trip heart it so) is the way in which director Gary Weis integrates grimy verité style shooting (exploring tension not just amongst gang members, or between gangs and cops, but even between himself and his subjects) with more stylized segments (including a few re-enactments of crimes set to music). So you're privy to the drama in more than a few respects. (Just not in a Walter Hill-conceived gang of Soho mimes respect.) Sure, we still dig The Warriors. But when you watch 80 Blocks, you know the ish is real (you can't front, Jack)."

SHOTGUN (1982, Directed by Steve Goodman)
Screening Thursday 1/28/10 in NYC: Click Here To Buy Tickets

EGO TRIP'S TAKE: "With our film series we wanted to pair better known documentaries with those that have enjoyed a lot less shine. Most folks will tell you that as SBX gang films go, 80 Blocks From Tiffany's is one of a treacherous trio of classics—along with Tony Batten's Ain't Gonna Eat My Mind and Henry Chalfant's Flyin' Cut Sleeves (which ego trip co-founder Lord SHR worked on). Steve Goodman's Shotgun, on the other hand, is so underground that very few people have even heard of it. It started out as a chronicle of the Savage Riders, but changed focus when one of the gang's members (whom the film is named after) encountered some serious criminal charges. This movie is so raw it actually makes 80 Blocks look like The Warriors.

"Shot on grainy, stark B&W video, and incorporating TV news reports and police video, there isn't a hint of romance in its portrayal of gang life and its effects on a ravaged community. But it's a powerful document and the images it serves up stay with you (from a tatted-up Rider working his day job on a forklift; to outraged tenants left without running water after Shotgun and co. ransack a building's copper pipes for quick cash; to a grieving parent alone in her home). If hip-hop really did help wipe out the popularity of gangs in the Bronx back in the day like all the rap historians say, well then it's already done far more good in the world than Kanye West's wardrobe could ever possibly undo."

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