Londoners can sometimes be closed minded when it comes to life beyond the realms of the M25. London Town has a diverse cosmopolitan lifestyle and music scene making it easy to forget there’s life outside of the city borders, and until recently I only realised that the same attitude extends to hip hop as well.
This Is South Coast is an independent documentary by Fractured Films about the Brighton hip hop scene. Although filmed in 2008 it’s had a recent reprisal and repackaging after being selected for numerous national and international film accolades.
Promising no bling, no gangstas and no bull, the charismatic MC cum presenter Buzz introduces the viewer to the diversity of Brighton’s hip hop scene, a seaside town better known for deckchairs and ice creams than MC battles and a thriving graffiti scene.
With an array of talking heads roped in from the early scene, mostly with an average age of around 35 (no discrimination intended – just illustrating how today’s emphasis is all about the young and fresh), the look back at the development of hip hop makes This Is South Coast quite introvert. As the original Brighton MCs reflect on the so-called Golden Era of Hip Hop (late eighties; early nineties), cutting to vignettes of grainy home made videos spliced with brief introductions to the early years of hip hop culture and its arrival on UK shores.
The documentary doesn’t forget to remind the viewer that Norman Cook used to spin records at the teenage discos before he found success as Fatboy Slim, and is careful to highlight his notorious record collecting, a trend followed by a lot of the DJs who are interviewed alongside their racks of vinyl.
Nor do the interviewees forget to remind the generations that follow them should be nurtured, but also taught to respect their elders’ work, in the case of the graffiti writers highlighting reckless taggers tagging over their work (let’s not spark off the age-old debate over graffiti: art or vandalism!).
The passion of the talking heads is what makes South Coast an entertaining watch from the MCs to the graffiti artists discussing their prolific tagging of train carriages, and works as a 101 for those who aren’t into hip hop culture or exploring its various roots.
While it has won accolades, sometimes consistency of interview video and sound quality varies, subtly disguised behind flashy credits, although for an budget indie film it should be allowed a pass.
The documentary is right on with making the point of Brighton hip hop as an original and ever-progressing scene.
Does it deliver on its promise of “no bling, no bull?” Yes, it does, and it will open a lot of people’s eyes to a town that has a scene that continues to thrive despite the media favouring London as the happening scene.
Maybe we should all be buying train tickets out of the city and see what our seaside cousins get up to once in a while?
South Coast is available to purchase as a DVD or digital download from www.southcoastthemovie.com
South Coast appearances include:
Norman Cook, Beardyman, Killa Kela, Damian Harris / Midfield General, Skint Records, JFB, Yungun, Rob Luis, Native Son, Zebra Traffic, Evil Ed, Stig of the Dump, Tom Simpson, Odisie, New Team, Heavy Artilliery, Taco, Dark Daze, Menagerie, Imagineers, Hinesy, Lost Souls, Green Keepers, Slip Jam B, Knowledge of Self, Beatdown, Elemental, Nick Maxwell, Tom Caruana, Salvo, Last Minute Records, Blackgrass, Tyni, Tim Howarth, 184, HP, Devize, First Down, Born To Rock, Digitek, Koaste, Witchdoctor Wise, 5 Missions More, Dr Syntax, Deliverance, Plan B, Aroe, MC Mell’o, Crespo, Hypercondriacs, Sons of the Tribe, Killa Instinct, Hijack, Baba Brinkman, Newborn, Daps, Dancing Bears, Rarekind, Floor Crusaders, Enlish, Battlejam, Sin Cru, Scizzahz, Gizmo, Brainiac, Russ Rockwell, Surgical Cuts, Phat Kev, Buzz, Dirty Diggers, Q-Fam Collective, Pac Man, Harpo, Tenshun, Monkey Sons, Req1, Non-Conformist, Cappo, Darkcore, Tru Thoughts and more!