For 15 years one of the most sought-after cult films in existence, Charles Ahearn's early hip-hop docudrama Wild Style finally makes its first widespread video appearance. The story of a much-admired graffiti artist who is tempted by the possibility of mainstream success, Wild Style is extremely clumsy as a drama, with awkward dialogue and even more awkward acting. However, as a showcase for many aspects of the incredible outpouring of creativity that took place in New York during the late '70s and early '80s, it can't be beat. Fortunately, Ahearn spends much more time concentrating on graffiti, break-dancing, and rap music (including an appearance by Grandmaster Flash and, in a dramatic role, Fab 5 Freddy) than on his story. It's a fascinating time capsule, worth examining for anyone interested in the cultural roots of hip hop.

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