Grab your Kangol and head over to Jeans West for some new threads. VH1 has announced production of The Breaks, an original movie about the Hip Hop business set in New York City during the early 90s, that will serve as a backdoor pilot for a potential series. DJ Premier, multiple Grammy-award winning member of the seminal rap group Gang Starr, will serve as executive music producer and compose the score.
The Breaks is based on Dan Charnas’ nonfiction book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, which covers the rap game from its infancy in the 1970s house party scene through the staggering financial and cultural milestones of the early 00s. Set in 1990, the series will follow three friends from different backgrounds attempting to break into the business just as the art form was escaping out of the margins and becoming part of the pop music mainstream.
Given the setting, which happens to mark the middle point of the golden age of hip hop, the rise of gangsta rap, and the height of New Jack Swing, DJ Premier’s involvement is a huge advantage. In addition to his work with Gang Starr, Premier has been involved with some of the most influential and successful rap and R&B albums of all time, including works by Compton’s Most Wanted, Nas, D’angelo, The Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z.
The Breaks follows VH1’s previous TV films, 2013’s CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, and 2014’s Drumline: A New Beat, both of which saw great ratings for the network. If successful it could spawn a full series aimed at the audience of other shows with soundtracks overseen by music legends, like Fox’s Empire, with music production by Timbaland, and ABC’s Nashville, which saw T-Bone Burnett as music producer during its first season.
The Breaks will be written, directed and executive produced by Seith Mann, whose previous credits include episodes of The Wire, Fringe, The Riches, Entourage, and Homeland. In addition to his production work, DJ Premier is also the host of a weekly show on Sirius XM’s Hip Hop Nation. Filming for The Breaks will begin in June, and the film is scheduled to air sometime in late fall, 2015.