Heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, CultureShift

New Documentary Is Love Letter To Flint’s Hometown Hero MC Breed

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Image credit: Geri Alumit Zeldes

Breed & Bootleg: Legends of Flint Rap Music” highlights the legacy of Flint’s rap scene from the 1990’s including homegrown musicians like MC Breed and the Dayton Family. It premieres at the Freep Film Festival, which kicks off this week.

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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

MC Breed and Ira "Bootleg" Dorsey, who are the subjects of the documentary "Breed & Bootleg: Legends of Flint Rap Music."Courtesy of Geri Alumit Zeldes
Courtesy of Geri Alumit Zeldes

MC Breed and Ira “Bootleg” Dorsey, who are the subjects of the documentary “Breed & Bootleg: Legends of Flint Rap Music.”

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.”

Breed & Bootleg: Legends of Flint Rap Music” is screening now as part of the Freep Film Festival through December 6th. See this and other Michigan-centric documentaries via FreepFilmFest.com.

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Ryan Patrick Hooper, Host, CultureShift

Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. As a longtime arts and culture reporter and photographer, Hooper has covered stories for NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.

hooper@wdet.org Follow @HooperRadio

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