Next episode: Sun, Oct 27

Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America

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From executive producers Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, Shawn Gee and Alex Gibney, each episode of this series focuses on a groundbreaking song pivotal to the evolution of American music and culture. From the early hip-hop battles to verses that sparked hope and inspired change, watch artists deconstruct their composition, revisit the impact the song had on them personally, and dissect the socio-economic and cultural conditions that inspired the landmark work and gave voice to a generation.

Latest episodes

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"Alright" by Kendrick Lamar; making protest music in the era of Black Lives Matter, "Alright" becomes the unsaid anthem for hope.
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"Jesus Walks" by Kanye West; in an era of excess, a Christian rap song challenges the church and changes its own ideals about religion and rap music.
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"Elevators" by OutKast; hip-hop's Southern voice breaks through with an unsuspecting song that redefines rap's cultural and geographic boundaries.
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"Rock Box" by Run-DMC; how one song tore down the barriers between rock and hip-hop, race and class on American radio and television.
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Dame Dash talks about Kanye bringing urban flavor out of the hood.
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Questlove of the Roots discusses how the 808 drum machine created and crystallized a new sound in hip-hop.
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Pharrell Williams gives his thoughts on the ways negative associations with hip-hop have affected the way society perceives it.
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"The Bridge" by Marley Marl and MC Shan; a song designed to foster community pride ignites hip-hop's most epic rap battle.
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DMC explains why "The Bridge Is Over" didn't faze him.
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John Legend recalls his initial reaction to hearing the Kanye West classic and what the song means to him.
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Boogie Down Productions' D-Nice discusses the legacy of the late DJ Scott La Rock with his son, Scott La Rock Jr.
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Kyambo "Hip Hop" Joshua remembers his emotional first listen to Kanye West's "Jesus Walks."
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Self-proclaimed "ultimate freestyle lunchroom champion" GLC shows off his skills and reflects on the Chicago hip-hop scene that produced Kanye West.
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"Ladies First" by Queen Latifah; at the height of hip-hop's misogynistic themes, the culture bows down to their queens of rap.
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Questlove demonstrates how hip-hop incrementally evolved from its creation in 1973.
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Questlove gives his thoughts on how hip-hop gives a voice to the voiceless and the have-nots.
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Queen Latifah talks about representing her community and her music to the public in a positive way.
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Black Thought gives his thoughts on the connections between Grandmaster Caz & DMC and Li'l Rodney C & Run.