When most people think of Baltimore, the city’s thriving music and arts scene is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. However, the Issa Rae-The product documentary “Dark City Beneath the Beat,” premiering at the SXSW Film Festival and currently available on Netflix, highlights the contrast between Baltimore’s rocky streets and its thriving creative and music scene.
The music-style documentary, narrated by Baltimore native Uneek (Errigh LaBoo Jr.) also known as Neek and directed and edited by TT the Artist, features some of the best freestyle dancers, DJs, MCs, rappers in the world. city, poets and lyricists, offering a glimpse into their lives as they attempt to advance their careers while navigating the hustle and bustle of everyday life in one of America’s most dangerous cities.
The documentary presents a brief 15-year history of Baltimore club music culture, simultaneously highlighting talent while recounting the hardships faced by so many in the film.
A key theme of the documentary can be summed up in one line at the start of the film: “There is a lot of talent in the city, but limited resources for artists.
Dark City Beneath The Beat interweaves personal narratives and original musical sequences to illustrate the personalities that define the local soundscape, which can be accurately described as both rhythmic and raw. The diversity of sounds and visuals grab the viewer’s attention and show that the Baltimore music scene is much more than hip-hop and rap.
The documentary also introduces audiences to unlikely influencers in the community, including female artists who start their own record labels, community organizers who use music and dance to keep young people off the streets, and LGBTQ artists who influence society. music, dance, and fashion that surround the city’s hip-hop community.
As it describes the struggles, trials and tribulations, the documentary shows many positive aspects of Baltimore’s music culture, including the efforts of many in the community to promote the enrichment of music and dance. for local youth. In addition to narrating the documentary, Neek is also the creator of B More Than Dance, a talent and enrichment program from Baltimore that began as a one night dance competition created to crown a winner of the dance “King or Queen of Baltimore “. Since its inception in 2007, B More than Dance has grown to serve up to 300 youth and young adults each year, hosting workshops, dance classes and other community events. Neek and his team have worked with world famous artists and performers such as Rick Ross, Jaquees, Da Baby King Combs and other international artists.
As Baltimore, like much of the country, struggles to recover from economic uncertainties following the Covid-19 pandemic, “Dark City Beneath the Beat” not only offers an inside view of Baltimore’s club music culture. , but the hope of a better future for the city in the years to come.
You can find more information about B More Than Dance here.