Rapper Nas Bringing Hip-Hop Classic ‘Beat Street’ To Broadway

Rap icon Nas is joining a creative team to bring a stage musical adaptation of the 1984 hip-hop film classic Beat Street to Broadway.

Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known as Nas, made the announcement tonight at a 40th anniversary screening of Beat Street at the Tribeca Film Festival. The Grammy-winning artist said he has joined the creative team adapting the film for Broadway.

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Additional creative team members will be announced in coming weeks. A production timeline was not announced.

The Beat Street musical is being produced by Arthur Baker, Michael Holman, and UK-based tech investor Richard Fearn, and will expand on the film and create new material to complement the film’s musical numbers. Producer Holman was an associate producer of the original film, and Baker was its co-producer, composer and music producer.

In a statement accompanying the fest announcement, Nas said, “Beat Street wasn’t just a film – it spread the revolution of hip-hop culture throughout the country and the world. It left an indelible mark, inspiring generations of young artists and creating new hip-hop fans alike. It’s a thrill for me to join the creative team of Beat Street, bringing the raw energy of hip-hop into the fabric of Broadway. It’s an honor to breathe new life into this iconic work and celebrate its enduring legacy.”

Set in the early 1980s and released in 1984, Beat Street revolved around a group of aspiring young talents in the South Bronx, including a graffiti artist, a DJ, and a break-dancer, “as they pursued their dreams in the emerging hip-hop scene while facing the challenges of urban life.”

The film starred Rae Dawn Chong, Gus Davis, and Jon Chardiet, with appearances by major artists of the era including Doug E. Fresh, DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambataa & The Sonic Force, Us Girls, The Treacherous Three, Magnificent Force, The New York City Breakers, Rock Steady Crew, and Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five, among others.

One of the first films to authentically depict hip-hop culture, Beat Street has been cited as an influence by such artists as Ice-T, Ice Cube, LL Cool J and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among many others. The popular soundtrack was released in two volumes (also produced by Baker), with Volume One among the first rap albums certified gold.

The film was produced by Harry Belafonte and David V. Picker, with music by Harry Belafonte and Arthur Baker, story by Steven Hager, screenplay by Andrew Davis, David Gilbert & Paul Golding, and direction by Stan Lathan.

For the stage musical, ShowTown Theatricals will serve as General Managers. Nathan Gehan and Jamison Scott of ShowTown Productions are executive producers.

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