Up jump the boogie. Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital and Stephen David Entertainment have partnered with GroupM Entertainment to develop and produce The Definitive History of Hip Hop, a documentary series that tells the story of a distinctly American art form from its underground roots to its iconic global artists. The project is in development and slated to begin production this year.

“With the breakout success of entertainment properties like Straight Outta Compton and Moonlight in film, Empire and Atlanta in television, even Hamilton on Broadwaythere could not be a better time to tell this story about the embryonic days of hip hop,” said All Def CEO Sanjay Sharma.

The Definitive History of Hip Hop

Exec produced by Simmons, Stephen David and Richard Foster, the docu begins in the early 1970s, chronicling the rise of the first DJs and emcees in New York City. But what started as a way for marginalized youth to escape or explain the stark realities of the inner city rapidly spread from the East Coast to the West as it evolved into a global phenomenon. Today, it is a multibillion-dollar industry and cultural force that shapes music, art, fashion, language and all forms of entertainment from films to television and digital programming to social media.

Weaving filmed scenes and classic documentary treatments together with VFX, archival footage and celebrity interviews, The Definitive History of Hip Hop tells the personal stories of the pioneers of hip hop and rap, set against the larger historical context of a country in turmoil. From DJ Hollywood and Run-D.M.C. to Dr. Dre and Jay Z, the expansive series captures the mystique and magnetism of the personalities and music that helped transform the American mindset and, in the process, set off a global movement premised on speaking truth to power.
Courtesy photo

“Hip hop began in the Bronx and Queens and was fueled by pioneering new artists with an incredible hunger to express themselves in unimaginably bold new ways,” Simmons said. “The Definitive History of Hip Hop is the untold story of the birth of this art form. The series gets behind the scenes of what drove the beats, the rhymes, the ideas — and the people — that so powerfully hit a chord with all of youth culture in America and around the world.”