BBC Rapping Lowdown

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Perhaps the greatest documentary the BBC and UK have ever produced. A 1980s 'young persons guide' to the new musical phenomena known as 'rap'.

‘I felt left out because everyone was doing these really great raps. I tried rapping but I just mucked it up.’

I once had the misfortune of hearing my Dad perform 'a rap' in public at a youth event. As if the rap wasn't bad enough, he went for the folded arms (oh no he didn't) at the end as an exclamation point. If you were playing charades and this documentary came up - that's how you would sum it up - it's basically one big uncool arms fold.

‘Most of the raps happen in London but you don’t have to be from London to do it because it's important from wherever you are that you’re doing it.’ 

Those are the words of a youngster trying to earn the respect of his peers in the sleepy English countryside and break through in the global rap game. The touching experiences that Alex (street name Kraze 2!) and his mates share throughout are absolute solid gold in their entertainment value.  

‘It’s catchy and it gives a lot of information (as much information, I think, as the news) and it’s easy to understand.’

The documentary is an absolute feast of great lines such as the above. The idea of the producers going through the rushes and editing together what the kids were saying to me is the greatest triumph here. Some of it is unadulterated nonsense, plain and simple.

My love of this piece of art is summed up by one little kids anecdote about learning to beatbox at school...

‘One day in maths - I was about to sneeze, and what came out was a snare drum sound. I thought to myself - If i can only do beatboxing when I’m sneezing, that’s no good...so i practiced doing it without sneezing, and now I fit all the sounds together and get a really good beatbox sound.’

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