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Hot Docs 2016 Review: Hip-Hop Evolution

The difficulty of offering up a review of Hip-Hop Evolution is how to separate form from subject. Because Hip-Hop Evolution tells an incredible story, the history of a movement that has encompassed the general consciousness, but does it tell this story effectively?

The answer is yes, generally, for the most part. But despite incredible access from director Darby Wheeler, as well as co-directors Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen and host Shad, who becomes increasingly irrelevant, the documentary mainly speaks to an enlightened crowd.

Could this cinematic experience play among an audience that has absolutely no background with hip-hop music and culture? Yeah, absolutely, but there seems to be so much more to the story, much that gets ignored in the grand scheme of things. For example, how much of the genre is male dominated at least at the start, how much of the dress and macho culture suggests issues of gender construction and flamboyance.

But this much is clear: Hip-Hop Evolution appears to be a kind of mythmaking, and standing on the shoulders isn’t always a type of trailblazing.

[star v=35]