Styles of the Unexpected Tony Silver

There’s no question that the 1983 PBS documentary Style Wars is the definitive look at hip-hop culture on the brink of explosion. Focusing on the writers and breakers of NYC, it showed a movement when it wasn’t on television or in papers because of its popularity but because of its destructiveness on the environment. Everyone interviewed, such as future legends Dondi and Crazy Legs, were given a spotlight for their unappreciated talents thanks to filmmakers Tony Silver and Henri Chalfant, so the conversations and overall feel of Style Wars are completely natural and authentic. Plexifilm released the essential double-disc version of this film in 2003 so it’s questionable as to why there’s an inferior version cropping up boasting new titbits. The main feature is a 30-minute revisit that claims to have "never before seen” footage, which is partially true, as many of these moments are just snippets rehashed from the Plexifilm release but are compiled together to flow as one documentary. There are some scenes from the original film, as well as the "where are they now?" interviews that don’t seem familiar but for the most part, you are going to recognise. There’s the "Destroy All Lines” loop of continuous subway cars that is also on the initial release but this version does have some worthy catch-up interviews with Crash, Daze and Tracy 168. The most important interview though is with Lady Pink, who was completely ignored in the actual Style Wars film, as well as the DVD release, even though she’s a pioneer for female writers and, even though there were women before her, she was one of the only ones writing in 1982. Props go to this reissue of Style Wars for giving Pink the credit she deserves but if you already have the double-disc version you aren’t missing a damn thing. (Twisted Nerve)