Hip Hop Uncovered is a new 6-part docu-series on FX that focuses on the birth of hip hop and the driving forces behind it – Deb Antney, Bimmy, Big U, Trick Trick, and Haitian Jack. From the beginning of the documentary, it’s clear that these 5 individuals have played a pivotal role in today’s hip hop game.
We are first introduced to Big U. Growing up in LA he was in the streets at an early age. He and his cousin started their own gang the Arlington Gang which would later develop into the Rollin 60s Crips, who we later find out were heavily involved in the Ocean Front Arena fight at a Run DMC concert. Next, we meet Haitian Jack. Born in Haiti, his family moved to Brooklyn, New York when he was young. Hardly speaking any English, he was often bullied and made fun of. This would later change when Jack would acquire a gun at the age of 14 and use it against one of his bullies.
Now we go to Queens and are introduced to Deb and Bimmy Antney. Deb being the oldest child in the family, she was forced to grow up as a young teen after her father had died. She later would turn to selling drugs as she was familiar with it through her father, who would often take her to drug deals. Bimmy who was Deb’s younger brother would fall in with notorious New York gangster Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, becoming part of his Supreme Team, a gang of drug dealers in New York. Being young, he was easily drawn in by the money, the cars, the clothes and glamour that dealing drugs had to offer.
Finally, we go to Detroit and meet Trick Trick. Being the youngest, he was hit the hardest when his parents had announced they were getting a divorce. Devastated by the split of his parents he became depressed and attempted suicide, which he would fail at, and was later taken to a hospital for help.
On the surface it would seem that these five were just a product of growing up poor and black. However, after taking a closer look it’s clear to see why they are so important in the world of hip-hop. They represent who the rapper is. Listen to any rap song and you’ll hear a song about gangs (Big U), being forced to grow up at a young age (Deb Antney), depression and a broken family (Trick Trick), the desire for a lavish lifestyle (Bimmy), or being bullied throughout their youth (Haitian Jack). All of these early traits ultimately lead each one of these individuals to claim their stake in the music industry. What’s more important is that these traits not only represent 90% of rap music, they represent the majority of what it’s like growing up black. Ask any black person in America and they will tell you that they’ve experienced at least one of these things at one point in their life. Which is why hip-hop is, and always will be cemented in black culture.
I really enjoyed these first two episodes. I’ve been a follower of hip-hop since I was young. From the MCs like Biggie, Wu-Tang, and Nas who taught me the art of rhyme, to the DJs who taught me the value of a beat. Everyone who knows hip-hop knows that it pretty much started with “Rappers Delight” and The Sugarhill Gang but few know the story behind that song and how it got started. This series tells us that story. This documentary is an eye opener for sure seeing Bimmy on stage with Run DMC and learning that he was simply there because he was friends with DMC and asked to go on tour with them. Mind you, Bimmy at the time was a well-known drug dealer in New York, but if you didn’t know that life, he looked like just another hype man. Even learning that all the guys on the back of the Eric B and Rakim album Paid in Full were all notable gangsters at the time. This series absolutely shows us that hip-hop’s roots go deep and are planted in places the general public never saw or knew. These are heavy hitters in the industry and honestly, I’m looking forward to learning more about them.
Hip Hop Uncovered aired the first two episodes of its 6-part series on February 12th, and will continue airing two episodes every Friday through the month of February on FX. Episodes are also available for next day viewing on Hulu.