Rap icon Nas has stepped into the director’s chair with the forthcoming release of Video Music Box, a documentary set to launch SHOWTIME’s three-year slate of Hip Hop 50 programming on Dec. 3. The film—which covers the legacy of the pioneering rap music video show and creator and host Ralph “Uncle Ralph” McDaniels—will give a glimpse into the life and times of the cultural giant. Featuring never-before-seen footage lifted from the Video Music Box vault, the film will highlight the program’s inception, its role in helping jumpstart the careers of various rap legends, and how it provided a grassroots platform for artists and other creatives.
Founded in 1983, Video Music Box served as a major conduit for major, independent, and rising artists looking to get their visuals out to the world, while paving the way for future rap-centric programs like Yo! MTV Raps and Rap City.
In addition to Video Music Box, Hip Hop 50 will be kicked off with The Individualist, a film about late photographer Ricky Powell, who helped immortalize various artists, musicians, and other creative figures throughout the ’80s and ’90s. The other upcoming documentary, Rolling Like Thunder, examines the relationship between freight trains and graffiti artists how it sparked a creative revolution.
The Individualist is set to air on Dec. 10, with Rolling Like Thunder premiering on Dec. 17.