If the 21st Century was all we had to go on, hip hop culture would simply be called pop culture, considering its influence on music, art, film, and fashion. Even the President listens to Kanye. But not all that long ago, it was still culture of the counter kind.
A Red Bull Music Academy film, created with Ghost Robot, takes us back to 1980s New York City and the radio mix shows that spread the underground gospel of hip hop over the airwaves. Directed by Joey Garfield, the 20-minute doc talks to and celebrates innovators like Marley Marl, Cool DJ Red Alert, and many more.
Torsten Schmidt, Co-Founder of Red Bull Music Academy, says it’s a story they’ve been wanting to tell for a while. “We’ve touched on it in one way or another over the years, but this is the first time we dive deeper into it and bring it to life as a compelling mini documentary,” he says.
Schmidt says the idea stems from the days when tapes from New York were a currency hotter than slices of pizza in a Napoli oven, mostly brought over to Europe by American service men. “That was how the world got to hear music the way the center of the (musical) universe was doing it,” says Schmidt. “Genres didn’t matter and DJs created new musical worlds for everyday people driving in their cars, doing the wash, sitting on a bus, or shootin’ dice in the park. Radio and the tapes these guys made were a wonderful global journey that didn’t require a plane ticket. Revolutions On Air is a tribute to those that shaped the most exciting time for dance music on New York radio ever.”
Watch the full documentary below.