Podcast: Beyond the Margin – Mass Appeal’s Rapture (Netflix) & Word Is Bond (Showtime)

Beyond the Margin explores the making of and significance of two hip-hop related productions, Word is Bond and Rapture (Mass Appeal), with an interview with director and hip-hop icon Sacha Jenkins and director/producer Ben Selkow…

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In its latest podcast, which could almost be viewed as two episodes in one, Across the Margin has the distinct honor and privilege of presenting an interview with two talented, impactful directors and storytellers in Sacha Jenkins and Ben Selkow.

Sacha Jenkins is a hip-hop icon and one of the premiere chroniclers of the art form. A jack of all trades, Sacha is a producer, filmmaker, writer, musician, artist, curator, and an expert raconteur of hip-hop, graffiti, punk, and metal cultures. Early in his career, he published Graphic Scenes & X-Plicit Language, one of the earliest magazines solely dedicated to graffiti art. In 1994, Sacha co-founded the now fabled ego trip magazine, and between 1997 and 2000 he was the music editor of Vibe magazine, helping to put the publication on the map. He has directed an avalanche of striking films, including 2015’s Fresh Dressed, 2017’s Burn Motherfucker, Burn!, and this year’s hip-hop doc Word is Bond, now playing on Showtime. Currently, Jenkins is the creative director at Mass Appeal where he is working on a plethora of hip-hop related, socially enlightened projects.

Ben Selkow, making his second trip Beyond The Margin, has executive produced, showrun and directed non-fiction pieces for Netflix, HBO, CNN, Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Participant Media, Esquire Network/NBCU, and SundanceTV, amongst others. He produced the deeply affecting and important documentaries Buried Above Ground and Death By A Thousand Cuts, and was a director and producer on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Currently, Ben is the executive producer, showrunner and one of the directors on the forthcoming docu-series on hip-hop culture entitled Rapture.

In an episode taped in the recording studio at Mass Appeals offices in lower Manhattan, host Michael Shields had the opportunity to discuss with Sacha and Ben the soon to be released (March 30) eight-episode Netflix series Rapture, of which both acted as executive producers and served as directors for episodes as well. The must-see series is an inside and deeply personal look into the lives and careers of a bevy of hip-hops’ brightest shining stars. Featuring a diverse swath of artists—Nas and Dave East, T.I., Rapsody, Logic, G-Eazy, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, 2 Chainz, and Just Blaze — Rapture leaves no stone unturned as it dives into the artists’ personal lives, artistic aims and the rigors/excitement of the road, unveiling the heart, soul and profound talent behind their successes.

Following a discussion about Rapture, Jenkins guides listeners into the intricacies of Word is Bond, a documentary that doubles as a love letter to hip-hop lyricism. It’s a film that takes aim at a specific aspect of hip-hop culture, specifically keying in on the poetry that has continuously and purposefully glided over beats as hip-hop music has exploded into the mainstream. Through dynamic archival footage, captivating animation, and in-depth interviews with artists, Word is Bond serves as a fitting tribute to the poetry which underlines hip-hop. The film isn’t only a look back, but an insightful glance at the thriving state of the game, and a commemoration of what the artform has done and continues to do for the black community and artists everywhere, and Jenkins, in the episode, opens up a window onto the particulars of its creation and aims.

Join in and dive deep with us into the world of hip-hop in an episode that not only takes a look behind the scenes of two profound and important hip-hop productions, but allows for the art form’s nuances, genius, and social impact to be more fully understood and appreciated.

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