Theater News

Rapper Nas Joins Creative and Producing Team Adapting Beat Street Into a Musical

The musical is based on the 1984 film celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

(© Danny Clinch)

At a 40th anniversary screening of Beat Street at the Tribeca Film Festival, Grammy Award-winning rapper Nas announced that he has joined the creative team adapting the 1984 hip-hop film into a Broadway musical. Additional creative team members will be announced in coming weeks.

Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, best known by his stage name, Nas, realeased his first full-length album Illmatic in 1994 and went on to release 14 subsequent albums, eight of which are multi-platinum and platinum. He will team up with the show’s producers, Arthur Baker, Michael Holman, and Richard Fearn, to bring Beat Street to Broadway, including expanding and creating new material for the film’s soundtrack. Holman was also an associate producer of the original film, and Baker was its co-producer, composer, and music producer.

Originally released in 1984, Beat Street was one of the first films to depict hip-hop culture, including breakdancing, mixing, scratching, and graffiti art. The movie revolves around a group of aspiring young talents in the South Bronx as they pursue their dreams in the emerging hip-hop scene while facing the challenges of urban life. Nas, as well as other artists including Ice-T, Ice Cube, LL Cool J, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, have credited Beat Street for its impact on their lives and careers.

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, and Paul Golding, and direction by Stan Lathan, Beat Street starred Rae Dawn Chong, Gus Davis, and Jon Chardiet. The film was also notable for 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.

ShowTown Theatricals will serve as general managers for the stage adaptation. Nathan Gehan and Jamison Scott of ShowTown Productions are executive producers.