RIP Sol Yurick, the man who gave us the classic book The Warriors died in his Brooklyn home over the weekend from complications to lung cancer..He was 87. For those who are unfamiliar the book is a cult classic was written in 1965. The movie of the same name and adopted by Walter Hill came out in 1979.
Warriors was based upon a book Anabasis by Xenophon who a Greek solider. It tells the tale of the Greek Army stranded deep in enemy territory, where they are set and ultimately have to escape..However, many in Hip Hop upon seeing the movie drew parallels to the movie and the early influences of gangs on the then emerging Hip Hop scene. For example, the Gang Summit shown in the opening scene, was thought to be loosely based upon he historic Gang truce of 1971 (the Hoe Avenue Peace meeting) put together by the Ghetto Brothers. This was highlighted in the book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop by Jeff Chang. The large mostly Black gang depicted in book and movie the Gramcy Riffs which everyone bowed down to was thought to be the Black Spades.
Yurick was familiar with NY street gangs because he had done intense research and wanted his book to shed light on the tribulations those who were poverty-stricken were going through. The movie which it was said he didn’t like sensationalized the gang aspect and made it cartoonish with all the crazy costumes folks were wearing.. Nevertheless, the movie struck a chord and was embraced by Hip Hop to this day. Excerpts from the movie are frequently sampled or referenced by everyone from Lakim Shabazz to NWA to the MOP. A video game emerged from it and many feel intended or not Warriors is a Hip Hop’s unofficial first flick..