American Rapstar

American Rapstar

Justin Staple | USA | 2020 | 73 min.

Analysis of the latest generation of young North American rappers to emerge from SoundCloud. Distorted bass, facial tattoos, intergenerational chasms and the national opioid epidemic as a backdrop.

“The most vital and disruptive movement in hip-hop today.” And also “the sound of an over-medicated and hyper-connected generation” whose expectations for the future amount to rapid stardom via social networks. These are two conclusions that can be drawn from this gobsmacking study with its hefty sociological footprint. Pound for pound, the external vision of analysts from previous generations meets the testimony of the protagonists: young, teenage millionaire “SoundCloud rappers” like Lil Pump, Matt Ox, Bhad Bhabie, Lil Xan and Smokepurpp. With a special focus on the South Florida scene, the subculture is showcased from several angles: the musical breakaway from hip hop, the new business model it embodies, the abuse and glorification of benzodiazepines and opioids as evasion, as a sign of identity and expression of a major problem, or the generational angst that led to the shooting of XXXTentacion and Lil Peep’s overdose. The stark portrait of a hive of artists who are breaking new ground, and pushing the boundaries of what rap is, who it is for and how it is distributed.

Starring: Diego “Lil Xan” Leanos, Danielle “Bhad Bhabie” Bregoli, Omar “Smokepurpp” Pineiro, Jon Caramanica.


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