Remember the New York gangs that overrun the city’s moonlit streets in Walter Hill’s 1979 cult classic The Warriors? Meet the real-life ‘Warriors’ in Rubble Kings. The new documentary from Shan Nicholson (and produced by Jim Carrey) charts the untold story of the real-life ‘Warriors’. Made over seven years on a $50,000 Kickstarter budget, the doc contains remarkable unseen archive footage and connects the dots between street culture and the birth of hip-hop.
In the 60s and 70s, New York was a hotbed of crime, with warring gangs at each other’s throats. The Bronx was a battlefield. Violence came to a head and ended in the pact to end all pacts: the Hoe Avenue peace meeting, where gangs came together to broker a truce. This later became the inspiration behind the gang summit at the beginning of The Warriors, where leader of the Gramercy Riffs shouts “CAN YOU DIG IT?” five too many times.
Key leaders of the most notorious gangs offer insight into the criminal underworld of an alien New York. Forerunners from the very earliest days of hip-hop such as Afrika Bambaataa (an ex-Black Spade warlord), Kool Herc, and DJ Red Alert also connect the dots between the city’s hard knock life and the origins of hip-hop.
The crime-riddled era of New York past is already endless pool from which filmmakers draw, and it hasn’t run dry yet. An upcoming documentary called The Seven Five exposes the police corruption in a Brooklyn precinct. Romeo + Juliet director Baz Luhrmann is currently working on a 2016 Netflix series based on the street gangs featured in Rubble Kings, calledThe Get Down. Rubble Kings is set for a September cinematic release in the UK. Can you dig it? Watch the trailer for Rubble Kings below: