Showtime to Celebrate Hip Hop with Multiyear Initiative


Showtime has unveiled Hip Hop 50, a multiyear, cross-platform programming initiative to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the hip-hop genre in collaboration with entertainment company Mass Appeal.

Hip Hop 50 will encompass unscripted series and features, podcasts and digital shorts by and about some of the biggest names in the genre. The initiative’s programming will begin airing later this year on Showtime, running over the next three years and culminating with the 50th anniversary of the genre in 2023.

The initiative is driven by Mass Appeal partner Nasir “Nas” Jones and Sacha Jenkins, Mass Appeal chief creative officer and partner and writer, director and producer of Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men.

Vinnie Malhotra, executive VP of nonfiction programming for Showtime Networks, said: “Hip Hop 50 will be an unprecedented multiplatform experience that is going to be absolutely essential, not only as a celebration of the genre but also as a cultural touchstone for our world. Showtime and Mass Appeal have curated a remarkably insightful—and emotional—series of programming, bringing new depth to the giants of Hip Hop and new exposure to the most important untold stories. We can’t wait to roll this out.”

Jones added: “Hip Hop’s growth and rise over what will soon be 50 years is staggering. I’m proud to present Mass Appeal’s latest incredible initiative—Hip Hop 50—honoring our movement’s undeniable impact. With influential partners like Showtime, we are poised to bring Hip Hop’s greatest stories to life and inspire a multitude of generations in the process. It is truly a blessing to be a part of this movement that gives due praise to my community and the culture.”

As part of the Hip Hop 50 announcement, Showtime Documentary Films announced five projects premiering on the network under the umbrella, including Push It, which will tell the multi-dimensional stories of women in hip hop, the industry and behind the scenes, exploring their journeys from the past, present and future. There’s also Hits from the Bong, a documentary about Cypress Hill that will track the lives and careers of the West Coast group, produced by Sony and Mass Appeal. A yet-to-be-titled documentary from Ralph McDaniel will tell the story about the longest-running New York City-based TV show, Video Music Box. Rolling Like Thunder dives into the secret underground world and history of freight train and subway graffiti culture, and lastly, Ricky Powell: the Individualist tells the against-all-odds-story of New York City photographer Ricky Powell, who documented the music, fashion and art scenes of the ’80s and ’90s in downtown New York.