The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop is an absolute must-read for any hip-hop head. From the late ’60s right through until the late ’00s, author Dan Charnas offers a comprehensive and highly detailed account of all the key players and big money moves responsible for making hip-hop the commercial and cultural giant that it is today.
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If you haven’t had chance to read it, don’t worry, because there’s a full-length film based on The Big Payback coming to VH1. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the cable network has ordered a backdoor pilot for a TV movie they’re calling The Breaks.
Charnas will co-executive produce and co-write the script alongside Seith Mann (former director for The Wire and The Walking Dead), who will also direct the movie. VH1’s Susan Levison, Bill Flanagan and Maggie Malina are also on board as executive producers.
Don’t expect the movie to be a complete visual representation of the book, however. With so much ground to cover, VH1 has decided to set the film in ’90s New York City as it follows three friends who are hungry to make their mark in the rap industry.
The story centers around Nikki Jones, a brilliant recent grad who abandoned a scholarship to law school to pursue her dream of becoming a record exec. Her boyfriend, David Aaron, is the scrappy son of a legendary music producer who is unwilling to rest on his father’s laurels and notorious reputation. DeeVee is an aspiring producer on the hunt to find the next big rapper on the come-up.
Nikki fast talks her way into an internship at the premier hip-hop company, Fouray Entertainment, and catches the eye of the label’s infamous founder, while David struggles at the city’s top R&B radio station whose celebrity DJ refuses to program real hip-hop. Meanwhile, DeeVee returns to his roots in the Fort Greene projects to scout for talent and runs into Ahm, a drug dealer with a lyrical gift whose talent could bring them all to the next level.
But they will soon discover lives can be broken as fast as legends can be born.
The Breaks is set to begin production in spring and premiere this fall. Should the movie perform well, there’s an option to extend it into a series.