A forthcoming documentary from Australian director Benj Binks shows a budding hip-hop underground in Mongolia and how it relates to other oral traditions of the land. Their hip-hop roots seemed to have begun with the fall of Communism there and the messages of the music deal mainly with social issues. See more after the jump.
A New Documentary Shines a Light on a Little-Known Hip-Hop Heartland:
From a wintry rooftop in Ulan Bator, one of Mongolia’s preeminent female rappers, Gennie, reveals the unexpected vibrancy of the country’s emerging hip-hop underground in this excerpt of Mongolian Bling.
Going deep into the scene for his debut documentary, Australian director Benj Binks spent six years hanging out with its stars, a motley crew of rappers and beat boys who reveal how the music took root after the collapse of Communism—and how MCing is not so different from song fighting, praise singing and Mongolia’s other distinctive oral traditions. The documentary highlights the rappers’ social calling as they advocate for change in the rapidly urbanizing country, with even shamans and traditional singers advocating a place for hip-hop in the history of the nation. “It’s a film looking at contemporary life in Mongolia through its music,” says Binks. “Gennie raps about social problems like alcoholism and domestic abuse. Her hip-hop gives a voice to the marginalized and disenfranchised.”
Mongolian Bling plays at the Wesleyan University in Middletown on April 30 and the True Reformer Building in Washington on May 2. Its UK premiere is in London on May 17 at The Horse Hospital. – via NOWNESS