Nas-Directed “Video Music Box” Film Launches Showtime’s “Hip Hop 50″ 3-Year Initiative


Nas is set to produce three documentaries in collaboration with Showtime to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop.

Showtime announced the multi-year, cross-platform initiative on Wednesday (October 27). The move is a joint venture between the premium cable network and Nas’ Mass Appeal entertainment company.  

The first film, slated for release on 3 December, centers around the trailblazing television program, “Video Music Box.” The documentary includes 40 years’ worth of never never-before-seen archival footage as it explores the show’s influence on Hip-Hop culture around the world. 

In the forthcoming film, Nas will highlight the public and private journey of rap music visionary DJ and MC Ralph McDaniels, who grew to be one of the most influential tastemakers and historians.

Created by Ralph McDaniels and Lionel C. Martin, “Video Music Box” first aired on public TV throughout the New York area in 1983. The show was mostly shot on-location on the streets of New York where random passers-by were asked for their opinions on Hip-Hop music and culture as well as hard-hitting news topics.

The program would also feature Hip-Hop music videos and themed music specials highlighting trailblazing rappers in the ’80s and ’90s. Pioneers including Public Enemy, Salt N’ Pepa, LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Boogie Down Productions, MC Lyte, Special Ed all made appearances on the show. Viewers were also introduced to emcees including Lil Kim, The Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z, Nicki Minaj, and the film’s director Nas, who would all go on to become future stars.

Additionally, a further two projects are slated for release in December. Josh Swade’s “Ricky Powell: The Individualist,” delves into the life of the New York City photographer and will air Dec. 10 The Roger Gastman-directed graffiti culture film “Rolling Like Thunder,” premieres the following week on Dec. 17. 

Nas To Commemorate 50 years Of Hip-Hop Culture

Showtime says the Nas-driven “Hip Hop 50″ will run over a three year-span and includes further unscripted series and features, podcasts, and digital shorts. The project culminates in 2023, marking the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop.  

Meanwhile, Nas recently launched a Hip-Hop storytelling class in collaboration with Masterclass.