B-Movies of our Youth: Beat Street (1984)

Name: Beat Street

Directed by: Stan Lathan

Produced by: Harry Belafonte and David V. Picker

Starring: Rae Dawn Chong, Guy Davis, Jon Chardiet and others

Release Date: June 8th, 1984

Box Office: $16 595 791

 

Introduction

 

To continue with our Breakdancing phase, here is Beat Street. This is the last Breakdance movie that I remember watching as a kid. Although it was billed as a breakdance movie, it was more than that. There was a level of depth here. The story was much deeper than with Breakin'. Let us dig in.

 

Story

 

The premise of the movie is very simple. You follow a bunch of young kids and see how life in the New York inner city was back in the day. There are a pair of brothers in particular that you follow. One of them which is Kenny Kirkland (played by Guy Davis). He wants to be the best DJ in the world and really wants to perfect his craft.

 

He has a younger brother named Lee (played by Robert Taylor). He is really into breakdancing and as was the case back then, he was part of a breakdancing crew named The New York City Breakers.

 

The other cast of characters are Ramon (played by Jon Chardiet) and Chollie. They are all trying to live day to day, surviving in the inner city of New York. 

 

We are then introduced to Tracy (played by Rae Dawn Chong). She takes a liking to Kenny's DJ abilities and Lee's breakdancing. 

 

Each of the characters have a story and are dealing with something. Either it is Lee, being promised to be on a show breakdancing, to the death of one of their friends. The movie is a journey into the various decisions and dilemmas that one faces. 

 

The movie ends with a New Years Party honoring one of their fallen friends Ramon. Kenny starts the show and starts, what would eventually become the main theme of Beat Street. There are also appearances by Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five. 

 

I know that I am oversimplifying the story, but one of the beauties of this movie is to follow everyone's stories and I do not want to ruin it. 

 

Soundtrack

 

This is one of the best Breakdancing albums that you can buy in the 80's. It is up there with me with the Breakin' soundtrack. There are so many good artists on here and the beats were awesome. Here is the listing of songs. 

 

 

Volume 1

 

1–Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five: Beat Street Breakdown

2–The System: Baptize The Beat

3–Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force + Shango: Frantic Situation

4–Juicy: Beat Street Strut

5–Sharon Green, Lisa Counts & Debbie D: Us Girls

6–Cindy Mizelle: This Could Be The Night

7–Arthur Baker: Breaker's Revenge

 

Volume 2

 

8–Jazzy Jay: Son Of Beat Street

9–Juicy: Give Me All

10–Tina B: Nothin's Gonna Come Easy

11–The Treacherous Three*Santa's Rap Human Beatbox [Uncredited] – Doug E. Fresh

12–Jenny Burton: It's Alright By Me

13–Rockers RevengeBattle Cry

14–Ralph Rolle Phony Four MC's: Wappin (Bubblehead)

15–La La: Into The Night

 

The soundtrack is awesome from beginning to end but my favourites are Frantic Situation, US Girls and Beat Street. 

 

US Girls - Sharon Green, Lisa Counts & Debbie D

 

 Bottomline

 

Apparently this movie had a big impact in the United States but also around the world. I cannot attest to that as I was too young at the time. However I know what it has done for me personally. It cemented my love for breakdancing and the Hip Hop scene. 

 

On TV, you would see breakdancing and it was always be happy go lucky times. This brought some insight into real world themes and how breakdancing and elements of Hip Hop reflected that. This is a movie that I can rewatch over and over again. Although yes, the music and clothes may be dated, the themes are not. The same things are being dealt with over 35 years later. It is very sad but true. 

 

I would recommend this movie to anyone that wants to anyone that wants something a little different. Hip Hop with a serious element to it. 

 

Do you remember this movie? What do you think about it?

 

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