Clap your hands everybody if you got what it takes coz I’m Kurtis Blow and these are the breaks!!!!
The Breaks is a new show that focuses on the early 90’s hip hop scene from a fictional perspective. Written, produced and directed by Seth Mann (Former director of the wire) The film opened to 2.6 million viewers in the US on Monday. Inspired by Dan Charnas’ book The Big Payback, a narrative history of the hip-hop business you’ll see characters that could easily be based on real people from that era.
The story focuses on a group of 3 friends trying to make their own way in the world of hip hop. You have Nikki who is trying to get into artist management in her own “unreasonable” way, DeeVee (Played by Mack Wilds aka Michael from The Wire) who is a struggling upcoming producer and Nikki’s boyfriend David that wants to be a radio programmer.
As you can imagine all 3 are extremely passionate getting into some interesting and dangerous situations at times as they work on getting into the industry. I won’t go too much into the story as I’d rather everyone just watched it especially the hip hop fans whether they be “old school” or not.
The film was scored by DJ Premier (Living Legend!!!!) including his own original productions and all of the lyrics involved were written by Phonte Coleman previously of Little Brother and currently part of the Foreign Exchange. For someone like me this is a dream come true if you haven’t heard anything from Phonte you honestly need to go and look him up. The soundtrack is banging as you would imagine whether it be original beats or stuff like Special Ed’s I got it made.
But back to the film, Antoine Harris features as a gangster/rapper by the name of Ahm and does a great job especially in one of the battle scenes where he absolutely tears someone apart with complete nonchalance. Phonte himself has a brief hilarious feature as an afrocentric rapper and also Torae is involved in the battles. Young upcoming rapper A-F-R-O also has a feature as artist D-Rome. Wood Harris (No relation) who some of you may know as Avon from The Wire or Ace from Paid in Full also plays a sizeable part of the film as Barry Fouray of Fouray management who could pass for a young Russell Simmons if the rumours are to be believed.
Now a couple of notable people have had something to say about the breaks. MC Hammer claimed they were hating on him (as he wasn’t spoke of highly in the film) and Irv Gotti claimed it was way too soft on the subject of Queens. Now I can’t say this is a completely accurate depiction of New York in the 90’s as I wasn’t there but from everything I’ve seen, read and heard from the era its pretty close. Bear in mind this was to be broadcast to everyone not just hip hop fans so there has to be an element that applies to everyone.
I’m personally very happy with the film and hope its commissioned to be a full series. Especially in this time where Hip-Hop seems to be kind of lost it’s good to show people where it came from to an extent. I also hope that one of the DJ Premier produced tracks from the film gets released and I’ve already lobbied him on twitter lol.
To wrap up I think this is the start of something special and hope that everyone watches it. Also check out the soundtrack here:
Update link to watch here
Ramblings of a music fan