“All The Streets Are Silent”: Hip Hop and Boarder Treasure Trove New York Style

Nothing could be farther from silence in the streets of New York in this documentary that chronicles the convergence of hip-hop, rap and skateboarding (1987-1997) in New York City. The documentary is full of the roaring streets of New York City with a subculture of boarding and rap and hip-hop music. You know once upon a time New York was a dilapidated and not safe particularly downtown where Mulberry and Prince were down and out and not cool. New York has gentrified with lots of Russian, Iranian and corrupt Third World cash where about as raw as you get is on Canal Street with Italian fake goods is presented as sort of a drama for unsuspecting tourists. I have been visiting New York City from the early 70’’s and those times were a bit dicey and a visit to Harlem unthinkable. But gentrification has spread throughout Manhattan and the poor have been uprooted and moved to Jersey!

But in the last bad days of New York hip hop and boarding rather fused together for a brief rebellious moment with creativity until the Great American Way capitalized on the trend with boarder videos, stores, fashion and a great sell out to the capitalist way. Boarder and hip-hop culture was invaded by posers wearing the latest boarder “fashion” listening to commercial hip hop often played on boarder videos and then all this seemed to collapse and head to California creating a rift between West Coast rappers and hip hop and the New York scene.

What I can say about this eccentric and historical documentary is that it is rather just that…eccentric and historical and perhaps irrelevant in 2021. However is history ever really irrelevant?

What I can say this is a supercharged intensity doc drippingly rich with the rise of rap and hip hop in gritty New York centred downtown which was rough and dangerous. Now it is centre of fashion and hip gentrification. But forget all that and focus who might be interested in this documentary;

  1. Those who love hip-hop and rap
  2. Boarders
  3. Lovers of New York City and its history
  4. Those interested in the process of commercialization of grunge into profitable mainstream cool

You have so many musicians and boarders in this documentary you’ll either be confused or revelling in its depth. I’d say it is richer in music than the boarder culture. But there is so much intensity of characters and themes dealing with boarders and musicians if you are not into that the documentary may be overwhelming which I say it was for me and what held it together for me was the archival footage of rappers and hip-hoppers.

It starts off on July 23rd virtually at Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto and July 23 virtually and July 30 In-Cinema at The Cinematheque in Vancouver.

This is a 2020 89 minute American documentary is historical and represents a New York of long ago. Musical and boarding buffs will love it. Most others will be confused and overwhelmed by it. You can catch the trailer here https://vimeo.com/ondemand/allthestreetsaresilent/560216445

Published by Robert K Sephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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