If you still wear your Adidas, pull your Kangol cap below your eyes, and ponder about the length of Rick Rubinâ€™s beard, then Krush Groove is the film for you. Released by Warner Bros. in 1985, the Michael Schultz (Cooley High, Car Wash) cult-classic tells the tale of what we now know to be the original empire in hip-hop music. The movie stars Blair Underwood as Russell Walker, a young recording industry entrepreneur who features the most popular acts in New York on his new label.
Krush Groove is based on the true story of Russell Simmons and the beginning of Def Jam Recordings. Simmons himself actually makes a cameo in the film as a club promoter–essentially, the cameos are the best part of the film. No matter how small the part, we love seeing some of the biggest names ever to grace a microphone in their developing stages. LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Run-DMC and the Fat Boysâ€”just to name a few, are all featured in the film. As a result, the rare soundtrack is phenomenal, even though Run-DMC does not appear because they did not originally record on Def Jam.
This movie was not received well by the critics at its release and most of the money grossed was from theaters in New York, ostensibly owing to its Bronx film location. However, I recommend it if you can look past the horrible rapping of Sheila E. and see the narrative as an essential part of hip-hop culture.
1985, Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Michael Schultz
Written by Ralph Farquhar
Running time: 97 min.