Syreeta Gates describes herself as a “hip-hop archivist,” a historian who’s delved into the culture to study those who cut their teeth when hip-hop journalists were equal parts hustler, fan, and geek. She’s bringing her many talents to a project six years in the making, and Write On! The Legend Of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers needs your help.
Her team, which includes Kathy Iandoli (who wrote Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook with Prodigy) and Herman Jean-Noel (cinematographer for Another Slave Narrative), is running a Kickstarter campaign that promises to reward you handsomely for your efforts.
Gates has rounded up the journalists who shaped hip-hop, including Greg Tate (who wrote the iconic Flyboy in the Buttermilk), Datwon Thomas (former editor-in-chief at Vibe), CASSIUS’ own Kierna Mayo, Bobbito Garcia (whose radio show we’d sneak and listen to), Can’t Stop Won’t Stop author Jeff Chang, and “hip-hop feminist” Joan Morgan. These icons rushed into the streets and hurried onto planes to catch scoops, all to bring back the milk we all needed from the culture we all loved.
Hip-hop is the water we swim in. It’s the culture we look to, the tree we pick from when we are trying to let someone know that we’ve got a locker full of cool. It wasn’t always this way, though, because parents are scared of everything. So in the late ’80s and early ’90s, to be wowed by kids doing handstands on cardboard on some of the grimiest corners in New York City was to have your parentals snatch you back into “don’t you dare!” territory.
It was the journalists, then, who let you into the world of hip-hop. It was them at the nightclub door, eyeing you up-and-down pessimistically, telling you about Illmatic. They were the ones dragging you to Harlem, hopscotching around to projects like Marcy and the Queensbridge Houses, putting you on to Project Pat and OutKast and Lil Wayne and Pharcyde. We owe them a debt.
The doc will feature interviews from these beloved arbiters and many more, dipping into the cultural moments that our lives revolved around. The estimated date of delivery for the doc is August 2018, and, with your help, Gates can make sure this love letter to hip-hop journalism gets made. But we all know what you’re really here to know: what are the gifts?
A mere $10 promises to keep you abreast of all the goings-on in production. For $25, you get “private, backers-only access to the making of the documentary.” For $35, you score a digital download of the doc and the dope stuff above. But a $50 spot will also get you Lego build instructions for the Source Mag logo (which, as you know, will make your apartment or home complete). It just gets better from there.
As Gates says, “My people put their people on.” So even if you can’t show financial support, you can share the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or wherever you get down these days. And be sure to visit the website.
Look out for this when it drops this summer. And, as usual: can’t stop, won’t stop.