This year marks the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of the filming of the movie “Wild Style”. Actually this year is the 26th anniversary, but the writer, director and producer of the movie, Charlie Ahearn, is still traveling the globe celebrating its quarter-century birthday. Last week he came to the glorious freetown Christiania.
First of all, I have to admit, I’m a huge mark for Wild Style. Growing up it was the only hiphop movie at our local rental shop. I rented it a lot and ended up buying (or stealing, I’ve forgotten) a copy at some point. So while my first impression of rap and DJ’ing came from all kinds of sources, graffiti and breaking mainly came from Wild Style. Since then I’ve seen the movie a ton of times, and for Christmas my girlfriend gave me the deluxe DVD version as well as “Wild Style – The Sampler” a book with stories and photos from the filming.
That of course made it a no-brainer, that I had to go see the viewing of the film. On top of that, there was a show by WildChild and old school legend Busy Bee, but the real kicker was no doubt that Charlie Ahearn himself would introduce the movie and do a lecture. Charlie A introduced the movie briefly himself and qued the DVD version which, for those in the know, means no Take Me To The Mardi Gras during Grandmaster Flash’s scratch-session. It was really cool watching the movie with a packed audience, laughing a cheering throughout, and it appeared that a lot of film students were spread out amongst the hip-hoppers. While the acting ranges from passable to laughable the fact that the crowd could recite lines along with the action goes to show why the movie received VH1’s Hip Hop Honors last year.
Following the flick Charlie answered a few questions. He’s a character himself, sort of like a mix between a shy, artsy Woody Allen and a streetwise, tough New Yorker. I got to ask whether his fusion of hip-hop’s “four elements” was intentional and something he was proud of. His replied that to him, everything that represented New York street culture should have been in it, and he really wanted to include kung-fu – an element which really wasn’t represented in hip-hop ’til Wu-Tang Clan came along. The lecture was kept short, and mostly consisted of Ahearn showing the extras from the deluxe DVD. He did however show us a short-film which wasn’t included that was both great and a little eerie: Master Rob and Kevie Kev of the Fantastic Romantic Freaks in 2007, freestyling in Kevie Kev’s mothers appartment, where they both lived at the time. Master Rob had clearly updated his flow to a New York-now style and the reason for that was he had just spent 6 and a half years in jail on a drug-charge. As Ahearn commented afterwards, people ask him to do a Wild Style 2, but it’d be a really dark movie, since most of the cast, while hip-hop legends, have lived troubled lives and struggled both in their career and with personal demons. So in a way, that’s a testement to the impact of the sacrifice these legends/kids made to create the hip-hop culture.
Rather quickly we moved on to the Wildchild show, which was cool enough, although he shilled his new album a bit much. When Busy Bee took the stage he did have his swagger, smile and rhythm intact, but in all honesty he’s only memorised about three rap verses in his 30 year career so we skidaddled after about ten minutes. All in all it was a cool night, the Master Rob / Kevie Kev documentary definitely being the highlight as far as uniqueness. I’ll probably do a review of the movie extras and book at some point since there’s a lot of interesting uncanonised info in there. Charlie A was also an absolute gentleman, signing my copy of the book and soundtrack and posing for a picture – thanx for taking it Toobs!
I’ll give the event two foamfingers up based on nostalgia, fun and just good old hip-hop.