Detroit musicians have a long history of influencing musicians and musical genres around the globe.
But when you go an hour north of the city, the influence of musicians from Flint, Michigan on the rest of the world is relatively untold — until now.
“You often think of rap being the bastion of Detroit and Chicago, but nobody thinks about Flint.” — Geri Alumit Zeldes, director
“Breed & Bootleg: Legends of Flint Rap Music” is an hour-long exploration into how a handful of rappers from Flint grew to prominence in the 1990s, helping usher in a genre known as reality rap and influencing the sound of the budding musical style as a whole.
“If it weren’t for MC Breed, you wouldn’t have Eminem,” says Geri Alumit Zeldes, who directed the documentary. Along with Ira “Bootleg” Dorsey of the Dayton Family, “they were pioneers of the Midwest rap subgenre. MC Breed was the first commercially successful rap artist in the Midwest.”
The documentary follows the career paths of MC Breed (born Eric Breed) and Dorsey as their unique brand of reality rap gained them national notoriety and charts their influence on the genre.
“It’s a story that needs to be told because it had such a huge impact on the national music scene,” says Zeldes, who is a professor at the School of Journalism at Michigan State University.
In 2008, Breed passed away following a hospitalization from kidney failure at the age of 37.
“There was so much MC Breed did in his 37 years,” says Zeldes. “I hope this documentary film tells some of his stories or provides it justice because he was so gracious… and touched and impacted so many careers.”