culture

New Documentary Explores LA Underground Hip Hop

By Kiani Belgrave

Los Angeles hip-hop is known for its hardcore no-holds-barred gangsta rap. With artists like Ice Cube, Ice Tea, and N.W.A, L.A. hip-hop was unapologetically gangsta. A small venue in East Hollywood off of Melrose and Normandie avenue would become the epicenter of the emerging hip-hop culture in the city stat strayed away from the street culture. 

Hip-hop veterans and directors DJ Bonds and DJ Breeze explore the growth of the underground hip-hop scene in Los Angeles during the late 1990s in their new documentary film Where We’re From: Rise of L.A. Underground Hip Hop. 

“L.A. is mostly known for N.W.A., and Dre and Cube and Snoop Dogg and a lot of gangsta rap. But there was a culture out here of DJing, breakdancing, graffiti, like that culture of hip-hop that was seen in New York in the early days, and that actually happened out here, too,” said DJ Bonds. Along with fellow DJs, DJ Breeze,  DJ C-Los, and Damon Bonds were founders of Club Elements, which was at the epicenter of L.A.’s underground hip-hop culture in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The 90-minute long documentary will be released on streaming platforms on Aug. 24. The film will follow the rise of L.A s famous Club Elements featuring interviews with hip-hop greats including Dilated Peoples, Hieroglyphics, The Beat Junkies, Planet Asia, Jurassic 5, and more.