Aggarwal interviews popular artists in low-budget feature doc, “Whatever Happened to Hip Hop?”

Soni Aggarwal of 358, Inc. is wrapping post-production on her feature documentary “Whatever Happened to Hip-Hop?”

Over the past two years, Aggarwal interviewed local and national hip-hop figures, with rappers KRS-One and Jean Grae and poet Nikki Giovanni figuring most prominently in the film, which explores the evolution of hip-hop and its relationship with the media and mainstream culture.

“A lot of people don’t realize that hip-hop is not only music, but also a culture birthed out of the Civil Rights Movement,” Aggarwal said. “It’s a social and cultural movement for black people, and anybody who might feel oppressed, to move forward.”

Aggarwal takes a self-critical hip-hop insider’s perspective to the material. She said the film “counters a lot of the attacks made on hip-hop, but it supports some of the attacks.”

“Women are being portrayed less-than-respectfully,” Aggarwal said. “But we urge women to take control of the images that are being presented of themselves rather than pointing the finger at the media or ?the Man.’

“Women have more power over the images being portrayed than they think. If a woman doesn’t get up in a bikini and shake her butt in a video, then they aren’t going to have that on tape.”