KXXV news anchor Lindsay Liepman thought she’d found an interesting story in Keep Waco Loud’s interview with veteran Waco DJ Pirscription, but when she started asking questions about Waco’s hip-hop scene, the answers required more than a five-minute feature on the news.
Some 30 interviews and a lot of video footage later, the result goes up on a theater screen Saturday night with the premiere of the 90-minute documentary “Blood, Sweat & Beats: The Waco Hip Hop Story.”
Just as a feature interview expanded into a much larger documentary, Saturday’s debut involves more than a movie, starting with a red carpet entrance from 6 to 7 p.m. The Battle Grounds Crew break dancers will perform as will Waco rappers and singers Verbal Seed, DQ Hampton, Donna C, Chyrie and Scratch Master T.
Graffiti artist Skcoobaveli will create a fresh work in the course of the evening and there’s a panel discussion featuring film director Liepman, Grammy-winning Dallas producer and Waco native Symbolyc One, Waco DJ Pirscription and “Central Texas Godfather” Hustler E.
There’s also the announcement and screening of the winner of the “254 Music Video Race” contest sponsored by Keep Waco Loud and the Deep in the Heart Film Festival. And, for those who haven’t exhausted their evening, there’s an after-party at the Mezcal’s Sugar Shack club.
For Liepman, 38, and her film’s executive producers DJ Precyse (Devin Patton) and Pirscription, the full evening befits the documentary’s theme about Waco’s talent-filled, but frequently overlooked hip-hop and rap scene.
“I think the point the documentary makes is that Waco has talent,” said Liepman, an 18-year broadcast news veteran and Mexia native. “These guys have a real story, a real love for hip-hop. They think it’s Waco’s turn.”
“Blood, Sweat & Beats” stretches from the roots of hip-hop music in 1970s New York to its arrival in Waco years later; its slow and largely underground growth that caused some like Symbolyc One (Larry Griffin Jr.) to leave Waco to pursue careers; and how the internet and social media allowed Waco musicians, such as T-Moe (Terrence Moore) to reach audiences in the hundreds of thousands.
Liepman interviewed some 30 artists, producers and videographers for the documentary, capturing some as they construct their beats. Others, such as Hustler E and Big Binky, are recognized for their work in supporting their Waco community. “I think they’ve been waiting to tell their stories,” she said.
Although the KXXV anchor has been with the station about two years, she found the Waco scene starting to get some long-missing attention thanks to Keep Waco Loud, the arts/entertainment advocacy duo of Jacob Green and Katie Selman, new venues and increasingly connected younger audiences.
With the support of station management and the help of co-workers at KXXV, Liepman assembled the documentary from her interviews. It makes a theatrical debut Saturday night with a possibility of a shorter, half-hour edit being broadcast in the future.
“Blood, Sweat & Beats” may capture the past and present of Waco’s hip-hop culture, but it’s got a future, too, Liepman noted. “I think we’re in a turning point for Waco in the music scene,” she said.