"The Land Where Blues Began" & "Dirty States of America: Mississippi" [COUNTRY RAP: Mississippi]
A Mississippi music double feature - Alan Lomax explores the roots of blues in Mississippi & southern rappers set the history of Southern Rap straight
"The Land Where Blues Began"
Dir. John M. Bishop, Alan Lomax, Worth W. Long, 1979, 58 mins.
"A self-described 'song-hunter,' the folklorist Alan Lomax traveled the Mississippi Delta in the 1930s and 40s, sometimes in the company of black folklorists like John W. Work III, armed with primitive recording equipment and a keen love of the Delta's music heritage. In the late 1970s Lomax returned with filmmaker John Bishop and black folklorist Worth Long and made the film The Land Where the Blues Began. Shot on video tape, the film is narrated by Lomax and includes remarkable performances and stories by J.T. Tucker, William S. Hart, Bill Gordon, Belton Sutherland, Reverend Caeser Smith, James Hall, Johnny Brooks, Clyde Maxwell, Bud Spires, Jack Owens, Beatrice Maxwell, Walter Brown, Wilbert Puckett, and Othar Turner."
Dirty States of America: Mississippi
Dir. FLX, 2004, 95 mins
Dirty States is the most thorough documentation of Southern hip-hop rap in all its regional variation and cultural offshoots. This history is told through interviews with practically every notable southern rapper at a pivotal time when hip-hop form the South began to upstage the East and West coast versions in popularity and market value. While "keeping it real" in its even representation of gun-talk, booty shaking and obscenity in the Dirty, poignant and conscious voices emerge in the film, particularly those of David Banner and Killer Mike.
Part of the two-part series "Country Rap: The Gulf States" & "Katrina: Five Years Later" August 20th - September 2nd, 2010 at the Maysles Cinema.
This two-part series sheds a spotlight on hip hop (and its cultural and political antecedents), from a region engulfed in environmental siege with centuries old roots and a New South identity. After considering hip hop's southern migration and local variations, Country Rap transitions into Katrina: Five Years Later, a selection of films that document New Orleans' rich history, lending further gravity to those made in response to the devastation of New Orleans, and efforts towards recovery.
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