Essay on Wild Style, directed by Charlie Ahearn

Essay on Wild Style, directed by Charlie Ahearn

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Wild Style (1983) was a film that documented the real world of hip hop before most people even knew what hip hop was. This movie brings about the four crucial elements of hip hop - emceeing, graffiti, break-dancing, and deejaying. These features are the backdrop to the story of a graffiti artist named Raymond who lives in the South Bronx that goes by the name “Zoro”, who is played by well-known New York graffiti artist Lee Quinones. The movie goes through the tribulations of his life and relationship with Rose, while showing some of the historical aspects of hip hop.
This movie took place after graffiti had been so staunchly looked down upon. Craig Castleman supports this in his article “The Politics of Graffiti”, when he goes through a timeline of all of the policies that Mayor Jon V. Lindsay established in 1972 to get rid of graffiti, while the graffiti artists continued to do what they loved (21-28). Graffiti writing is not just an art to these people, it is a way of life. This is shown in Wild Style, when Hector says that there is nothing out there for Raymond and he replies "Yes there is (looks at graffiti, then back at Hector)...this." Wild Style hearkens back to a Golden Age when graffiti made sense. In the early eighties, New York City was a brutal and fairly dismal place to live. It made sense to the “taggers”, it was a part of their life and a way to improve the streets of New York. In “The Politics of Graffiti”, Richard Goldstein stated graffiti to be “the first genuine teenage street culture since the fifties. In that sense, it’s a lot like rock ‘n’ roll” (25). For some, it might even be about getting that “runners high” type of feeling that they cannot get from anything else. Raymond explains this in Wild Style by...


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... (69).
Through the influence of the movie and the articles together, one can tell that hip hop has grown greatly as a style of music and a culture since the 70s.



Works Cited

Castleman, Craig. "The Politics of Graffiti." Rpt. in That’s the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader. Ed. Murray Forman and Mark Anthony Neal. New York, NY: Routledge, 2004. 21-30. Print.
Flores, Juan. "Puerto Rocks: Rap, Roots, and Amnesia." Rpt. in That’s the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader. Ed. Murray Forman and Mark Anthony Neal. New York, NY: Routledge, 2004. 69-86. Print.
Ford, Robert Jr. "Jive Talking N.Y. DJs Rapping Away in Black Discos." Rpt. in That’s the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader. Ed. Murray Forman and Mark Anthony Neal. New York, NY: Routledge, 2004. 43-44. Print.
Wild Style, Dir. Charlie Ahearn. Perf. Easy A.D., A.J. and Almighty K.G. Rhino, 1983. Film.



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