The year was Oct.25, 1985 and prior to that date, there had a been only a few films featuring rappers. ‘Rappin” had been released months earlier and took in $2 million from 1150 theaters. ‘Beat Street’ had been released in 1984 and grossed $16.5 million from 1380 theaters.
Then came ‘Krush Groove’ and it was the first time that real rappers were stars of a film. Directed by Michael Schultz, and produced by Russell Simmons, the film starred Blair Underwood, Sheila E., Run D.M.C, Rick Rubin, the Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow, with cameos by the Beastie Boys, New Edition and an upstart named LL Cool J, who made his film debut with the hit rap tune, ‘I Can’t Live Without My Radio.’
Based on the early days of Def Jam Recordings, up-and-coming manager Russell Walker (played by Underwood) has all the hottest acts on the record label Krush Groove Records, including Run-D.M.C., Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Kurtis Blow, while Rick (Rubin) produces their records.
When Run-D.M.C. has a hit record and Russell doesn’t have the money to press records, he borrows money from a street hustler. At the same time, Russell and and his brother Run are both competing for the heart of R&B singer Sheila E.
Grossing $11 million from 519 theaters, ‘Krush Groove’ wasn’t well received by critics, but it has remained a cult favorite among many and brought the rap industry to a mainstream audience. Today, on the 25th anniversary of its official theatrical release, we take a look back to the past and the present.