Between 1968 to 1975, gangs ruled New York City. Beyond the hopes of the Civil Rights movement lay an unfocused rage. Neither law enforcement nor social intervention could stop the escalating violence. Peace came only through the most unlikely and courageous of events that would impact the world for generations to come through peace, positive influence and, eventually, music.
New documentary Rubble Kings chronicles life during this era of gang rule and tells the story of how a few extraordinary, overlooked people would achieve the impossible and inspire change everywhere, in politics and social awareness to art and culture. The film features interviews with several key members and major innovators from the earliest days of Hip Hop, such as Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Herc, DJ Red Alert and more.
It reportedly took director Shan Nicholson seven years to complete the film. He took on the formidable challenge convincing the original gang leaders and core members to share stories, personal recollections and open up about the things that happened in the decades before. Until this point, these stories were bound to be forgotten and lost in the history books. Thanks to Nicholson and his team, these insights, anecdotes and a fascinating slice of history are preserved for a modern audience.
Produced by none other than Jim Carrey and narrated by the distinctive voice of John Leguizamo, Rubble Kings possesses a real authenticity which, for those interested in this culture, will make you revisit the old movies and music of NYC all over again.
It also provides valuable insight into the social/youth movement of the day and those who brought about positive change, nurturing creativity and expression in young people who were largely ignored. What’s fascinating is how many kids involved in the impoverished gangs of the day went onto become social workers, doctors and lawyers, carrying forward these early experiences.
It’s also important to note that this period of New York history inspired a cult classic film known as The Warriors, only my favourite movie of all time (!) In the documentary, the real-life events surrounding the gang truce which inspired the film are vivid and all the more incredible to understand through the factual re-telling.
For anyone interested in American history, politics, music, film and even the evolution of fashion and culture, Rubble Kings is an excellent documentary, contextualising your favourite art and artists from this incredible era, and it’s one you’ll want to revisit again.
Rubble Kings arrives on UK DVD on 8 February 2016 from Sharp Teeth Films.
Check out the trailer below…