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From Mambo to Hip Hop
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From Mambo to Hip Hop (2008)

Willie Colon , Rock Steady Crew , Henry Chalfant  |  Not |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Willie Colon, Rock Steady Crew, Angel Rodriguez, Ray Barretto, Bobby Sanabria
  • Directors: Henry Chalfant
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: City Lore
  • DVD Release Date: March 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 56 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001DPC4KA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,849 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Documentary by Henry Chalfant about the musical history of New York's South Bronx, a borough that nurtured two major movements in popular music: the mambo that evolved into salsa, and the hip-hop that arose from the most desperate days of the South Bronx.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This well-crafted hour-long documentary - produced in conjunction with NYC's City Lore project and Latino Public TV - traces the music of the South Bronx, where Puerto Ricans who emigrated from Puerto Rico to the South Bronx in the 1950s and 60s merged their music with the African-Americans who moved in during the 1970s to create the original hip-hop movement of break dancing, scratching and B Boys. The first half focuses on the Mambo legends like Tito Puente - who was a mambo dancer before he became a band leader. As we learn from the interviews, "drugs came to the Bronx in 1953. It was the beginning of the end of the community". Dance halls disappeared and gangs abounded. Finally the gangs came together with a common goal: to dance and create music all their own. There was Grandmaster Flash, and The Rock Steady Crew. DJ Charlie Chase, a Latino, tells how he started. And there's a great soundtrack to take you through the story.

As a bonus, there's 67 minutes of "bonus interviews" with folks like Eddie Palmieri, Benny Bonilla, and more.

Long before RAP as we know it today, and the whole industry run by Russell Simmons and Def Jam (the "commercial side of hip-hop") there were kids who just wanted to party and make some music. This is the best film I've seen which tells the story concisely and accurately, from the mouths of those who were there. Highly recommended!

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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I ordered this to use in my Hip Hop course and it is perfect. It provides a nice introduction to the contributions of Latinos to Hip Hop. But I appreciated the indepth discussion of the relevance of mambo and salsa. It also addresses the importance of Puerto Rican and Cuban migration- particularly focuses on Afro Cuban contributions- to the development of the South Bronx as a cultural space. This is a well done documentary that features individuals that played significant roles in mambo, salsa and Hip Hop- including musicians, dancers, politicans, former gang members, and others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and insightful film.... June 11, 2012
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From Mambo to Hip Hop is a great example of superb documentary storytelling, at its best. The director, Henry Chalfant, takes great look at the changing face of the diverse South Bronx, and how it is incomparable to any other neighborhood - it is truly one of a kind. We see the up-and-coming years of the mambo, beautifully presented through interviews, grainy footage of fiery dancers, and what the dance and music truly mean to those for whom it bares special significance. We see the early break dancers, the Zulu Nation participants who first got a taste of hip hop, break dancing and record scratching in the 1970s. Deejay Charlie Chase (Wild Style) provides us with some of the strongest insight into how he broke into the record spinning role, in an African American dominated subculture, as someone of Puerto Rican descent. He decided to choose a culturally neutral name, in an effort not to alienate his audience.

I love the flavor, here, the footage, the music and how we are educated, here. I plan to visit that community, some day - good film to cut your teeth on. Brilliant, even.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Music History October 29, 2012
By G. Reid
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A tour of music through the 1960's & 70's South Bronx. An educational insight of the pioneers of Mambo, Salsa & Hip-Hop. This documentary also presents the economic distress of the times. An immigration of people from Puerto Rico and the southern United States coming together under a fusion of music and urban decay. A must see for the seasoned and up-coming generations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Film February 1, 2013
By D Mack
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A family member recommended this film to me as I'm an avid lover of Hip Hop and Salsa. This film gave a most accurate depiction of the two cultures and it showed how the merged in the streets of New York City, which is my home.
For all of those folks who have some sort of pre-conceived notions of either genre' or sub-culture, BUY THIS FILM!!! It's EXCELLENT!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Musical History February 17, 2011
Verified Purchase
This was an entertaining and informative video of a musical progression
in the world of latin sound. There were things I saw that I wasn't aware
of before. This video is a "Keeper".
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hip Hop Video January 2, 2010
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Very interessing stuff, a real good documentary aboute the hip hop origin in New York
Really appreciated
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