Undiscovered raw talent and an unfiltered perspective - Beyond Gotham reveals genuine underground Hip Hop from Upstate New York.

Breakdancing, MCing, DJing, and Graffiti - these are the elements of Hip Hop. But Hip Hop is so much more than these basic components. It is an art form, a lifestyle, a cultural phenomenon, and for some, it is even a religion. Its history undoubtedly began in New York City’s gritty urban environment, and through the years, it spread globally. Hip Hop, down to this day is the voice of the urban community. It is the diary, soundtrack and gallery of the global inner city.

In the “Empire State,” the inner city is not confined New York City’s five boroughs; it thrives in upstate cities like Kingston, Albany, and Rochester. The urban environment in these places breeds the struggle, desire, and creativity from which Hip Hop is born. Upstate New York is a gold mine of authentic Hip Hop culture and talented artists, and it has gone virtually unnoticed until now.

In recent years, Hip Hop has become the hallmark of a new generation of young people of all walks of life. However, recent years have also ushered in an era of mass commercialization of this urban culture on a global scale. What began with two turntables and a microphone, breakers on the dance floor, and spraycan art scrawled on the subway trains and walls has evolved into a pop culture money machine, minting millionaires and moguls virtually overnight. New York, more so than most major cities, is a mass media hub, saturating the air waves and television with a commercial brand of Hip Hop. The music, dance, and artwork that were born out of the urban struggle seem to have been replaced with a glossy, glitzy, glamorous showcase of unabashed riches and materialism. But what happened to the original culture? Does it still exist? Where did it go?

Beyond Gotham is a showcase of Upstate New York’s finest MCs, DJs, Breakers, and Graffiti artists. The documentary examines the stasis of Hip Hop in the 21st century, and sheds light on the culture’s definition from the raw and real perspective of the Upstate underground. Away from the big buildings, crowded streets, and bright lights of the big city, we can see Hip Hop clearly through eyes of New York hip hop artists who work, create, and survive outside the five boroughs.

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