What's Beef? is SoapBox's first long-form documentary. With a “art reflects culture” mantra, this piece serves as a critical analysis of the common critiques of American gangsta rap, highlighting the emergence of the genre in the late 80's as modern cultural response to larger, often ignored, systemic harms. Harms that create communities of which gangsta rap. These structural societal ills via policy and dominant narrative often help create the very disenfranchised communities and people whom respond with the cultural formation.
Originating as an academic paper, this documentary examines the reality behind some of the more criticized images/themes of hip-hop, specifically gangsta rap. It is an investigation into the projected image of "street culturalism" (violence, disregard for authority, and other gangsta rap credos) and how it is socially, politically, geographically, economically and racially constructed by much larger societal problems (i.e. inequalities in housing, lack of resources, poor education, institutionalized racism, global capitalism, the “War on Drugs”, etc.). What's Beef? takes a closer look at common criticisms of American rap music and what larger structural inequities are present and often ignored in order to keep the focus on the misunderstood genre of rap and its creators.
Written, Directed, Produced, Edited, Animated by Caullen Hudson
Cinematography by Michael Penick
**Used as part of the curriculum for GEO 399: Independent Study—Hip Hop, Politics and Place at DePaul University, taught by Dr. Euan Hague