In 1999 I moved to the L.E.S. of NYC during the hottest summer on record to pursue rap fame as the next hottest thing to the weather. With little more than a mattress and my MPC 2000 I was lucky enough to go on to make some records (when they still made those) with names like Mr. Lif, Aesop Rock, Cage, C-Rayz Walz and others before ultimately signing to El-P’s Definitive Jux label as one third of the rap power-trio Hangar 18. I got my first shot at a legitimate tour courtesy of Def Jux and The Hangar hit the road in support of The Multi-Platinum Debut LP, the most platinumest album of 2004. We did lots of shows in lots of places from Compton to Connecticut (peace Connecticut) and sold some CDs (when they still made those) but shortly thereafter came to the realization that the "rap game" was not for me. It was on a tour bus actually - sitting next to Shock G...but that’s another story. This is not a film about yours truly.
That said, many of my friends new and old either were or are actively pursuing a career in hip-hop…and "the game" is a cruel, cruel bitch with little to give but heartache, bad credit and chronic wanderlust.
So not too long ago I embarked on a journey to talk to some of my friends. Many of whom, like me, grew up in what's considered the Golden Age of hip-hop. And many of whom, like myself, remember a time before hip-hop and it's current ubiquity across our pop culture landscape. And many of whom, like I, have watched as our peers have struggled to maintain relevance and earn a paycheck as the torch is passed to a new generation of rappers that cut their teeth on You Tube instead of YO! MTV Raps. The journey to date has given me the chance to talk to a wide range of rappers, past and present, from indy to mainstream. Some you'll know, others you should act like you do. So far that list includes; Yesh aka Yeshua DapoED, Soul Khan, J57, Alaska, Blockhead, DJ Js1, DJ Elle, Despot, J Zone, Jams F. Kennedy, Bobbito, Masta Ace, Eternia, Torae, Luckyiam, Brooker T, Jensen Karp aka Hot Karl, Cryptic One, RA the Rugged Man, Homeboy Sandman, Jarobi, Slug, Blueprint, Louis Logic, Open Mike Eagle…and the list grows like a 90's posse cut everyday.
If you know what day Ed Lover Dance day falls on, what EPMD stands for AND you can name all the groups that make up The Native Tongues Family? You might just be an Adult Rapper. I think you'll enjoy our story.
So if you've ever wondered what the other 23 hours (off stage) of a working rapper's life looks like in the 21st Century - look no further. It's a story we're anxious to tell. It can be both inspiring and heartbreaking so YouTube millionaires take heed. Only some 30 years after the birth of the music we're wondering - where does it go next? As rappers get older, their music arguably stays the same age. Will we see rappers age gracefully and perform well into their winter years like so many Jazz greats? Will Kane still rock the Apollo at 70? Do rappers have expiration dates, and if so, do they know it? How does a rapper get a real job after years on the grind? We explore all this and more through a series of in depth interviews with a line-up that would makes Eddie Ill and DL jealous.
We will be eternally grateful if you support our film. With your support we will wrap up shooting in NY, LA, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and everywhere else a great interview awaits. While a little luck and a lot of emails have gotten us this far, a little money will bring this labor of love down the home Stretch (& Bobbito).
Paul Iannacchino, Jr.
- (30 days)