Planet Rock – The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Cocaine Generation [DOCUMENTALITY]
On this new chapter of Documentality, we present Planet Rock – The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Cocaine Generation (2011), another documentary narrated by Tracy Marrow a.k.a Ice-T. The documentary film shows how the drug has had an impact on the culture, as well as how using crack cocaine effects your body and mind.
This film would be of interest for hiphop fans as well as for those who aren’t. Planet Rock develops and explains the inextricable link between the history of rap and the phenomenon of crack cocaine in the United States that started in the 80’s and its political, social, cultural and economical consequences across different levels of American society until this day .
Starting in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Miami, its consumption and traffic has spread all around the United States, causing a national terror campaign materialized through massive militarization of the so-called ”ghettos” by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other law enforcement agencies.
A whole generation has been deeply marked by vice, broken families, violence, drug wars and massive incarcerations.
The temptation of making millions with drug smuggling is inspired by the famous Al Pacino movie, Scarface, where Tony Montana starts from scratch and becomes one the richest and most powerful people, through cocaine trafficking.
Young African Americans start joining this chase of the American dream, competition increases and criminality rises.
The so called ” Golden Era” of rap is raised with various ex-drug dealers such as Calvin Cordozar Broadus A.k.a Snoop Dogg, Shawn Corey Knowles-Carter A.k.a Jay-Z, Robert Fitzgerald Diggs A.k.a Rza from the Wu-Tang clan, and others, that rapped about their life as drug dealers and before being in jail.
Following mass detentions of dealers and consumers, many of these young men, after being incarcerated for several years, start turning to rap music and Hip Hop culture as a way to testify the raw reality they faced. Some will also use their lyrical talents to warn the new generation about this drug and the violence it has caused primarily in the Black and Latino communities in the United States. A new slogan was used by artists to denounce the epidemic: “Crack is wack”.
This film simultaneously shows how the U.S government actually uses crack cocaine as a stalking horse to make the Black community in the United States the most incarcerated social group, creating many new private detention facilities and filling them up.
Massive media coverage turned crack cocaine into a national issue and helped support oppressive ideologies against the poor.
The Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan era is documented as a scheme where the CIA exchanged drugs against weapons with right-wing paramilitary groups in Nicaragua.
Planet Rock shows us how Rap has emerged from a scarred generation and also how many pretend and glorify, in recent years, to have lived the dramatic realities of the 80’s and 90’s in United States’ precarious neighbourhoods. They have inspired their music with these facts to become famous and make fortune. Characters like Miami rapper Rick Ross are based on these drug dealers who have attained cult celebrity status because of how much money they made at the expense of drug fiends all over the country.
This film is fundamental to understand rap, its meaning and how it got to be the most popular music genre during the 90s and 2000s. It also informs about two decades that have marked the United States’ history and social fabric.
The documentary includes interviews with personalities and former crack cocaine kingpins such as: Snoop dogg, Raekwon, Rza, Freeway Ricky Ross, Jay-z, Too $hort, B-real, Sandra from Salt N Pepa, Melle Mel, Azie Fason Jr., Nelson George, Chuck D, Michelle Alexander and many more.
Watch Documentary by going on the following link (link dead – please let us know if you find a web version available in Canada):
Directed by Richard Lowe and Martin Torgoff