It’s rare, outside of the obvious 8 Mile exception, to find a film that picks up on the countless hardships of fledgling MCs –balancing their commitment to making substantive contributions to the culture and their need to make a bill, or merely getting discovered in the first place– in the contemporary film landscape, whether in the realm of biopics or elsewhere. But a new film from director Timour Gregory by the name of Revolutions Per Minute is poised to capture all of that strife, transplanting the film’s mile-a-minute spitter and main character Billy Da Kid (played by real-life NYC busker and MC on-the-rise Jadon Woodard) to Paris, where he learns the US isn’t alone in its struggles with maintaining some semblance of social justice.
And although the project is still very much in development, Gregory has shared the prequel to that piece, adding some context on what, solely based on the personnel involved and this all-too-dope introductory short, is already shaping up to be an excellent feature. The prequel Keep Pushing charts the discovery of young Billy in the early ’90s at the ear of a writer after blazing through bars (self-written by Woodard) in an impromptu cypher at a Bronx park, and how a little marketing magic and a mouthful of meaning can get you put on. The short also stars legend Pharoahe Monch as the big beat producer that gives The Kid his name and helps launch his career. Follow the film on Facebook to keep up with developments in its production and peep the riveting prequel Keep Pushing along with a word from the director below.
“My vision for the film is to be both faithful to 90s hip-hop culture but also to speak to the times we live in today. In RPM, the main character Billy da Kid will discover social unrest in the Paris suburbs in the 90s that is such a mirror image of events unfolding right now all over the US. It is my hope that his journey in RPM can inspire people to talk about these issues and think about the role of the artist in challenging them. At the same time, with people like Pharoahe Monch, Robert Glasper, Nottz, Guy Routte and Kery James involved, we have an abundance of old school hip-hop dopeness!”