‘The Lost Book of Rap’ screening celebrates hip-hop’s early days

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It was like stepping into the past at the screening for The Lost Book of Rap. Young men were adorned head-to-toe in Adidas a la Run DMC; and DJ Ron G kept classics from A Tribe Called Quest and Naughty By Nature playing in the background, as rap pioneers like Grandmaster Caz and Kangol Kid were household names in the School of Visual Arts Theatre in Manhattan on this breezy autumn night.

More than a hundred people arrived for the screening of Ron Elliot’s The Lost Book of Rap. Elliot, who wrote, directed, and edited the film stressed how motivated he was by the people around him to complete the project — which almost didn’t get finished. This included the young actors and actresses who wanted to see the their hard work come to fruition.

“There was a lot of dedication that went into this,” said Elliot. “I gave my word and I try to keep my word.”

The film takes place in the 1980s and follows wanna-be rapper Charisma Coy on her journey from Brooklyn to the Bronx to find the “Lost Book of Rap,” created by a legendary Grandmaster (played by Grandmaster Melle Mel), all in order to defeat her nemesis Mocca — Coy’s former best friend and now rival.

The film also stars J.D. Williams, best known for playing Bodie Broadus on HBO’s “The Wire.”

“We need a lot more movies like this,” said actor Stu “Large” Riley (Kick A–, The Best Man) to the audience after the film.

After the screening, the next leaders of the new school took charge with performances by Chase Clarke, the film’s star, and Jahmila Sandifer, whose performance brought Kanye West to New Jersey a few days earlier.

But it was Reverend Herb Daughtry who had the motivational words for the entire crowd. Daughtry, who would often visit Tupac in jail said the late rapper would place a photo of whatever it was that he wanted on the wall in front of him and wouldn’t sleep in his bed until he obtained it. He would sleep on the floor or anywhere else.

“You can achieve whatever you want to achieve,” Rev. Daughtry said. “If you want to achieve something, put it before you.”

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Stereo Williams
Stereo Williams

Todd "Stereo" Williams, entertainment writer based in New York City. He co-founded Thirty 2 Oh 1 Productions, an indie film company.



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