How Violence Stopped and Hip Hop Emerged in the Bronx

“Rubble Kings” is a documentary about New York City gangs that purports to be the reality behind the cult classic movie “The Warriors”.

It took years to crowd fund some tens of thousands of dollars to make Rubble Kings, whereas The Warriors had a $10 million budget to create its nocturnal, dreamlike, highly art-directed tale. However, one thing you learn at the opening of Rubble Kings is that survivors actually liked much of the Hollywood film. D.S.R., former warlord of the Savage Nomads, said that the way the word got out on the street after the murder of a peacemaker from the Ghetto Brothers was “like that movie The Warriors, where that lady’s on the radio talkin’ about, ‘Hey boppers, you got to make that move.’”

The South Bronx Ghetto Brothers grew to 2000 members and expanded into other boroughs, filling the political gap left by the Panthers and the Young Lords, and eventually spread throughout the Northeast. They had street cred; everyone knew they were ready to fight if pushed, but they also got junkies off dope, got kids back into school, and otherwise empowered neighborhoods. Quite a few of their members were ex-junkies, and they bragged that there were no more junkies on the block where they were headquartered. They wore berets with red stars, aspired to inspire youth, and learned how to use the media. They even formed a rock, funk, and Latin flavor band, similar to the Black Panther band—The Lumpen—to have fun and convey their message.

“The Ghetto Brothers were definitely politically minded, but they didn’t take no shit either,” says Afrika Bambaataa, who eventually transformed the Black Spades into the internationalist Zulu Nation.

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