“Under the Influence” Explores Early Hip Hop Contributions in the UK

We’re two nations divided by a common Hip Hop language; UK’s slangs, accents, speech patterns, and pop culture references are still uncommon to the average American ear. I got my first experience of UK Hip Hop during my 2002 visit to Wimbledon. Yep. Wimbledon! A few black kids were freestyling in the park. I realized, even back then, that there were more similarities than differences.

A new documentary, which is currently in development, highlights the early pioneers of UK’s Hip Hop, Soul and Reggae music scene. The film is hosted and narrated by Rodney P, the godfather of UK Hip Hop. He takes us on a musical journey through Central London’s Covent Garden in the 1980s. And with the help of several Hip Hop pioneers, the film dives into pure nostalgia about UK’s early music influences, much of which have paved the way for today’s burgeoning UK scene.

UK’s rock bands and pop artists have had the unparalleled ability to crossover to the US market. It hasn’t been so easy for UK’s film, television, and Hip Hop industries.

Things are slowly changing, at least for UK Hip Hop. Thanks to the presence of UK battle rap scene (i.e Don’t Flop), Tim Westwood‘s radio show, and the underground popularity of UK’s Grime music, we’re finally coming together as one while staying distinctively different.

But as we enjoy the newfound attention toward the UK scene, we have to look back at how it all got started. For some of us, this is a nostalgic gift; for others, a new way to appreciate UK’s contribution to the global Hip Hop culture.

“Under the Influence” is produced by Rk productions and Black Music Canteen: Rodney P is the producer and creator of the project. Ruby Mulraine is also a producer. Kasra Firouzyar is the director, and Benjamin Wachenje is the cinematographer.

Here is the second trailer:

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