This page has been archived and is no longer updated.Find out more about page archiving.

So, you've caught up on our 5 fascinating electronic music radio docs. Now it's time to look at rap music and the culture of hip hop...

1. Tupac Shakur, Hip Hop Immortal

"Tupac is the quintessential falling star, that only lived for a short period of time but burned like a supernova," says poet Al Letson, presenter of this intriguing Radio 4 documentary - first broadcast in 2014, 18 years after his death. Exploring the complexity of Tupac's life and the battling identities that defined him, Al asks: what is it about Tupac's life that still resonates?

2. 10 Moments That Made Pharrell Williams

In 2014, just as Pharrell was riding high with Happy, and a year after his monster-smash collaborations with Daft Punk (Get Lucky) and Robin Thicke (Blurred Lines), Trevor Nelson looked back at the Neptunes and N.E.R.D man's distinguished career. The doc features interviews with Justin Timberlake, Thicke, Noreaga and, of course, Pharrell himself.

3. Hip Hop: Back to its Roots

Broadcast in 2014 to mark 30 years of Def Jam records, Hip Hop: Back to its Roots explores how a musical form created on the streets of New York is making a huge impact in Africa. It's presented by Afua Hirsch and features a stellar cast of interviewees including Def Jam founder, Russell Simmons, as well as Rick Rubin, Public Enemy's Chuck D, and new stars Fuse ODG, m.anifest, and Silvastone.

4. Jay Z: From Brooklyn to the Boardroom

On the remix of Kanye West's Diamonds From Sierra Leone, Jay Z raps, "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man," and this fascinating documentary - first broadcast in 2006, when Jay still had a hyphen in his name - explores the very considerable commercial interests of this Brooklyn native. Much is revealed, such as his clothing company, Rocawear, making a staggering $90m in its first year.

5. Hip Hop in the Middle East: Rhymes, Revolution and Resistance

In 2011, many people in the Middle East took to the streets to demand change. Revolution was in the air and, as with many revolutions, there was a soundtrack - hip hop. Four years after the start of the Arab Spring, music journalist Jackson Allers met local MCs to ask whether Arabic rap helped to make a difference, and also if political tensions have now divided what was once a united hip hop movement.

Related links

Added item image
Added, go to My Music to see full list.
More from