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Five Essential Hip-Hop Music Documentaries to Watch

Delve into the vibrant world of hip-hop and explore the lives and stories of legendary artists with these 5 must-watch music documentaries that offer an insightful and captivating look into the genre's evolution.
Words by Obadiah Ouzts
Photo from Travis Scott’s official Instagram page @travisscott, with no intended copyright infringement.

Delve into the captivating universe of hip-hop through a lens of knowledge and inspiration with these five essential documentaries. They offer an immersive voyage into the heart of rap, unveiling its rich history, confronting its challenges, celebrating its victories, and introducing us to the visionary artists who have forever shaped this remarkable genre.

Rhythm + Flow (2019)

“Rhythm + Flow” is a captivating documentary series that made its debut in 2019. This groundbreaking series ventures into the heart of the hip-hop world, providing an unfiltered and immersive experience. It stands as a testament to the genre’s ability to capture not only the beats but also the struggles, dreams, and undeniable talent of aspiring rap artists. Whether you’re a seasoned hip-hop aficionado or a curious newcomer, “Rhythm + Flow” offers an eye-opening journey into the fiercely competitive and creatively charged world of hip-hop.

The Defiant Ones (2017)

“The Defiant Ones,” released in 2017, is a documentary series that offers an intimate and insightful look at the lives and careers of two influential figures in the music industry: Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. This series masterfully explores their individual journeys and the transformative impact they’ve had on the music world, including their pivotal roles in shaping hip-hop and pop culture. Through a blend of interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and personal anecdotes, “The Defiant Ones” paints a vivid portrait of these two visionaries, illustrating how their collaborations and innovations have left an indelible mark on the music landscape. It’s a must-watch for anyone interested in the history and evolution of hip-hop and the music industry as a whole.

Travis Scott: Look Mom I Can Fly (2019)

“Travis Scott: Look Mom I Can Fly,” released in 2019, is a documentary film that provides an intimate and revealing glimpse into the life and career of the acclaimed rapper and artist, Travis Scott. This documentary takes viewers on a journey through Scott’s rise to stardom, from his early days as a budding artist to his meteoric ascent in the hip-hop and music industry. “Look Mom I Can Fly” offers a behind-the-scenes look at Travis Scott’s creative process, his performances, and the personal challenges he’s faced along the way. It not only celebrates his musical talents but also explores the impact of his music and his connection with fans. For fans of Travis Scott and those interested in the contemporary hip-hop scene, this documentary is a must-watch, offering an engaging and authentic portrait of one of the genre’s most influential and innovative artists.

Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell (2021)

“Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell,” released in 2021, is a documentary film that offers an in-depth and revealing look into the life and legacy of the iconic rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls). This documentary provides a unique perspective on Biggie’s life, featuring interviews with his close friends and family, as well as rare archival footage. “I Got A Story To Tell” explores Biggie’s early years, his journey from the streets of Brooklyn to hip-hop superstardom, and the challenges he faced along the way. It delves into his music, his impact on the rap industry, and the personal experiences that shaped his lyrics and persona. For fans of Biggie Smalls and anyone interested in the history of hip-hop, this documentary is a must-watch. It offers a poignant and comprehensive portrait of one of the most influential and celebrated figures in the genre’s history.

Rapture (2018)

“Rapture,” which premiered in 2018, is a documentary series that takes viewers on a multifaceted journey into the world of hip-hop. This series offers an engaging and immersive look at the lives and artistry of several prominent hip-hop artists. It explores their personal stories, creative processes, and the cultural impact of their music. “Rapture” features a diverse lineup of artists, each with their own unique style and background, including Nas, T.I., Logic, 2 Chainz, Rapsody, and more. The series provides an up-close and personal view of these artists’ lives, shedding light on their motivations, struggles, and contributions to the hip-hop genre. For hip-hop enthusiasts and those curious about the stories behind the music, “Rapture” serves as an excellent exploration of the multifaceted and ever-evolving world of hip-hop through the lens of some of its most influential voices.

Embark on a cinematic journey through the dynamic world of hip-hop, where history converges with contemporary culture. These five documentaries not only commemorate the genre’s vibrant past but also dissect its profound impact on our cultural landscape. Whether you’re a fervent hip-hop enthusiast or merely intrigued by its cultural significance, these essential documentaries promise to ignite a fresh admiration for the genre’s artistic depth and narrative mastery. So, prepare your popcorn and immerse yourself in the captivating realm of hip-hop through these compelling films!

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