You won't hear much about the work of underground rappers from Dallas in the broader context of hip-hop history, but that's only because most people don't know where to look. We From Dallas, a documentary made by local music scene figures Joel Salazar, Teddy Cool and Islam Sesalem, seeks to tell the story of Dallas rappers who have been making music without much love from mainstream hip-hop for decades.
Friday night at the Texas Theatre, you can see We From Dallas for the first time since its sold-out premiere at the Dallas International Film Festival. We've got a pair of tickets to give to one lucky reader and a guest.
We From Dallas grew after Sesalem, Cool, and Salazar pondered why they didn't have any cool videos set in Dallas to show at their monthly DJ nights at Zubar on Lower Greenville. After looking for graffiti artists to showcase in videos that they would produce, Salazar soon knew that they'd stumbled onto something much more than a film about graffiti.
"It grew into a bigger picture of wanting to tell our city's interpretation of hip hop. Granted, there was never a particular sound that came out of here, but we had our own thing," Salazar says. A year and a half into making We From Dallas, the original subject of the film, local graffiti artist Alvaro "Minus Won" Angeles, died unexpectedly, and that's when Salazar and Sesalem knew that they had to "do this thing right."
"He was the first person that kept telling us that we had to do this and do it the right way because his art, graffiti, is temporary, it's made to be painted over and it gets lost," explains Salazar. "We wanted to make sure that the story was right. We didn't get everything, but we got the roots of what we want people to know about where Dallas hip hop started."
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And they certainly did it right. We From Dallas features interviews with some of Dallas' most influential beatmakers, lyricists and rappers. It tells a story that few people know about the hip hop scene here, going all the way back to the beginnings of KNON Radio and the "golden era" of Deep Ellum. "Most people know about Stanky Leg," says Salazar. "But it's more than that here."
To win tickets, email the producers at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them what you love about Dallas hip hop and why you deserve the tickets the most. Deadline for submission will be 5 p.m. today, with the winner announced this evening.
WE FROM DALLAS is showing at 7 p.m., Friday, July 25 at Texas Theatre, 213 W. Jefferson Blvd., $10