Sure, there are loads of hip hop artists in this 1985 film—Run DMC, the Fat Boys, LL Cool J, Kurtis Blow (who looks more like a cross between Michael Jackson and Prince than the pioneering hip hop artist he was), Bobby Brown (along with the whole New Edition gang). Sure, it’s based on the story of the start of the hip hop record label Def Jam. But, what truly marks this film as the beginning of the hip hop era is that it’s the FIRST film to cause riots and gang fights in the theater! If it weren’t for this film’s violent influence, 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G. wouldn’t be dead and the course of hip hop history could have changed forever! East vs. West may never have happened! Thank the hip hop gods for Krush Groove—the film that made it very challenging for me to see movies in 1985, because my mother forbid me to go to any multiplex that was showing this film. I almost didn’t get to see A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, the gayest installment in the series, because of Krush Groove. But that doesn’t make me love it any less.
Funny thing is, if one watches Krush Groove, one will be hard pressed to figure out WHY people were stabbed, shot and who knows what else in theaters. This is one simplistic 80s film, without a complex plot. A bunch of up and coming hip hop groups try to get a record deal by performing continuously at a club, making the movie practically one long video with a storyline that’s pretty much incidental. A young Blair Underwood tries to start a record label. A young Blair Underwood wants to give a young Sheila E. more than a record deal, and eventually does to the slow groove of Force MD’s “Tender Love.” Can you believe hip hop was once about slow jams and makin’ sweet deep love instead of just tappin’ that? Heck, this film even has an extended club scene featuring a very Caucasian groove by Debbie Harry called “Feel the Spin,” co-written and produced by then mega-hot remixer Jellybean, the man partially responsible for getting Madonna a record deal (and tapping that while he was at it, although, it’s more like she was the one doing the tapping because she left him in the dust pretty fast once she became famous).
So yeah, Krush Groove really has no good reason to be the cause of the hip hop wars, but it was. It’s also another great 80s timepiece I’ve just added to my cheesy 80s movie collection. Don’t miss the funny dance done by a young and not so buff LL Cool J at the very end of the movie. Who knew that hot piece of black meat could dance 80s style???