Q&A: Big Fun In The Big Town Director Bram Van Splunteren On The '80s New York Hip-Hop Scene

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"The Beastie Boys were just silly," says Dutch-based documentary maker Bram Van Splunteren. "You couldn't do a serious interview with those guys. They were just goofing around. We had them rap down the phone but I don't remember any kind of content from that interview."

Back in the mid-'80s, Splunteren interviewed MCA, Ad Rock and Mike D for Wild Worlds, a radio show he ran. Despite the show's tendencies toward playing guitar-ased rock music, Splunteren liked to weave in rap songs when he could, not least those stamped with the Def Jam label logo. That interest in the music bloomed when he was given the opportunity to travel to New York City for two weeks in 1986 to produce a documentary about the hip-hop scene for the radio station's TV broadcast partner.

Big Fun In The Big Town will be screened tonight as part of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. Which seemed like a fine excuse to Skype it up with Splunteren about interviewing LL Cool J at the rapper's grandmother's house, checking out the Latin Quarter club, and attempting to chase down the Beasties in person.

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Blondie (12) Faces Off Against Run-DMC (5) In SOTC's March Madness Tournament

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‚ÄčThe Round of 64 for Sound of the City's own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—finishes up this week, with the Round of 32 scheduled to kick off Monday. (The schedule and results so far are here; the full, updated bracket is here.) Taking a cue from our neighbors at the Curbed Network, we're going to have a power hour—new polls every 15 minutes until 4 p.m., at which point we'll reveal more results. This time out, we're pitting Blondie against Run-DMC—check out the arguments in favor of each below, and vote at Facebook for your favorite.

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Nine Culinary Ventures By Hip-Hop Artists

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Cookin' With Coolio.
Today, excitable Long Island-raised rap firebrand Flavor Flav will open his House Of Flavor restaurant in Las Vegas. The restaurant—which will have fried chicken and something called a "red velvet waffle" on the menu—is Flav's second attempt to break into the food world, following the disastrous Flav's Fried Chicken experiment in Iowa. (In brief: It bombed, lasting for just four months, and also stoked the ire of his Public Enemy partner Chuck D.) But Flav's far from alone in deciding that sometimes the rap game reminds him that he's, well, just very very hungry. Here's a guide to the new rap food movement.

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Hip-Hop's Top Ten Greatest Sneaker Songs

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Kid Cudi, going all out for Converse.
Sneakers have long been hip-hop's footwear of choice. The links between the artists making the music and the companies behind the kicks are now totally intermingled, from top-end exclusive lines like Jay-Z's limited-to-five-pairs all-black Air Force 1s (decoded: they're entirely black) and Kanye West's Nike Air Yeezys to the populist-minded brand Converse sponsoring a summery release from Kid Cudi. In honor of the show that committed hip-hop sneaker freak Rick Ross played this past weekend in NYC as part of the 2010 Sneaker Pimps tour, here's a look at ten top sneaker songs from the annals of rap.

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First the Street Sign, Now the Documentary: 2 Turntables and a Microphone: The Life and Death of Jam Master Jay

The street sign in Hollis, the Broadway show, and now the death doc. The angle here does appear to be particularly valedictory, pro forma declarations of love and respect by Jeezy, Ja, et al aside. "Legendary hip-hop DJ Jason Mizell, aka Jam Master Jay, is gunned down in his Queens studio. Security tapes of the incident mysteriously disappear, the five witnesses are uncooperative and no one is talking...until now," goes the teaser line. The documentary as attempt to solve an open murder is nothing new, of course--just ask Nick Broomfield. But it remains a jarring way to talk about someone who didn't die all that long ago. We'll see, I guess. [h/t Daily Swarm]


Run-DMC, the Musical?

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It's happening, according to Liz Smith (?!). Paula Wagner, Tom Cruise's producer, has apparently been shepherding Rev Run and DMC around Broadway, collecting inspiration for an original musical. "I feel their story lends itself perfectly to the stage," Wagner told Smith. "This project has been a passion of mine for some time and I couldn't be more thrilled to be working with them." OK! Can't wait to find out who killed Jam Master Jay. There was also talk, earlier this year, of a Run-DMC biopic. And of course, they have their own street sign now. And our children, sick as they will be about this rap group they do not care about, will not thank us for any of this.

Run-D.M.C. Hip-Hops to Broadway
[WowOWow]

Run-DMC/Jam Master Jay Street Sign Dedicated in Queens

The corner of 205th Street and Hollis Avenue in Queens is now officially "Run-DMC JMJ Way," by way of homage to the rap group and its murdered DJ, Jam Master Jay. The sign was hoisted on Sunday (after being announced back in July), and Run spoke at the ceremony, telling the crowd "I lived right down that block," according to the the Daily News. DMC added: ""We are who we are because of you people." Rap Radar brought cameras to the dedication: above is the unveiling of the sign, and below, Jam Master Jay's mom speaks, too, telling the Adidas clad masses "This is a proud day for my whole family."

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Jam Master Jay Memorialized on Tiny Green Sign

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Hollis, Queens's Run-DMC will join Joey Ramone and the week-long promotional tour for U2's last album (R.I.P.) in having their name memorialized as a New York City street sign. The corner of 205th Street and Hollis Avenue in Queens will be renamed "Run-DMC JMJ Way," in dual homage to the slain Jam Master Jay and the rap group that brought him to fame. "It is my sincere hope that this street renaming," said Democratic Queens councilman Leroy G. Comrie, "will help to economically revitalize this particular neighborhood as a potential tourism attraction." That's a long way to go for a street sign, but sure, why not?

Queens Street Corner Will Be Named for Run-DMC [NYTimes/City Room]

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