By: Amanda Guarragi
As artists and creators, there is always one medium that we gravitate towards to express our feelings. Whether it’s sketching, filmmaking, or music, many escape into these mediums to feel something. Creating music is always a fun process, but when it is matched with a level of passion and truth in their verses, it becomes a more powerful tool. We Were Hyphy is a music documentary about Hyphy, a thumping subgenre of hip-hop, that’ll excite, entice and entertain you. Not only does it educate audiences on the music that should have taken the mainstream by storm, but the chain of events that occurred after a big hyphy musician, Dre, passed away.
Director Laurence Madrigal brought artists together who were present during this movement in the Bay Area and those who grew up learning about this subgenre of hip-hop. Even though these musicians created their own vibe and their own music to dance to, the feeling these songs gave everyone came straight from the heart to move them in many ways. Dancing and music are such powerful expressions of emotions and Madrigal showed this extremely well. This documentary goes back to basics and strips down what the audience knows about hip-hop music. If you aren’t from the Bay Area, Madrigal explains the different sounds and energy to the audience. He shows the history of the culture within the early 2000s and makes the viewer feel like you’re right there with them.
This music documentary really explored the importance of the Bay Area culture and how their personal lives pushed the movement forward. Writers often create stories based on what they know, and as was stated in the documentary, the music was a mirror of the streets in the Bay Area. From the footage from the actual sideshows, of each artist making their own music, and to the interviews with notable creatives who lived through it, everything about this documentary highlighted the importance of this movement. Even though some artists did not live to hear themselves on the radio, their legacy will always live on as one of the first to jump into hyphy. The way the music flowed through these artists and the way they kept pushing the boundaries of this subgenre was truly inspiring.
We Were Hyphy is an important cultural movement from the Bay Area that influenced the sound of many artists we listen to today. It’s not just music, it’s a feeling that overcomes your entire being, and you could truly feel that in Madrigal’s documentary. It was filled with good vibes, important music theory, and the discussion of important social issues that became intertwined with the lyrics. Music will always create a safe environment for people to unwind and just feel the beat, and that’s what hyphy was. The style of music is now mixed into the new age of hip-hop and the important thing to note is that these new artists pay homage to the past and don’t forget the pioneers who started it all.