Outstanding Hip-Hop Documentary
Dorrie Wheeler | 06/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a really excellent film and it is no suprise to me that it has won so many awards are various film festivals. The film is about "freestyle." Freestyle is a form of rap music that comes from the top of the MC's head. A freestyle is not a written rap. The MC that "fronts" a written rap as a freestyle loses much respect. The film maker has amassed a great deal of archive and olf footage of hip-hop legends like Cool Herc and Run DMC to name a few. The film is really about the underground culture. Unless you are deep into underground hip-hop, you are not going to recognize a lot of the rappers in this film. I can't say enough about this film. It explores the various aspects of the freestyle art form--including "the battle." The battle is when the MC's go at it in a freestyle battle. They can say some really confrontational things, but it's all about the rhyme. Women rappers are also well represented in this film. Bahamadia appears in the film as does rapper Medusa. All hip-hop lovers should check out this film. Between the live performances and the interviews, you will know about the freestyle culture by the time you finish watching this film. It digs deep into the rawness of hip-hop and rhyme. No bling bling, video chicks and or Bently's, just cats freestyling."
Great document. A must have for anyone interested in rhyming
Benjamin Morgan | United States | 05/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film in Portland at the hip-hop film festival. It's really amazing. Some of the ftg is phenomenal: Biggie eating some kid alive in a street-corner cypher. Mos Def flowing from the dome for DAYS. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I heard through the grapevine that VH1 is going to be showing the film as well. These guys have busted their asses in true hip-hop/DIY style to get this film made and out to the public. It has been well worth the effort!"
There is a good reason why this documentary won so many awar
DJ I DA I | Maryland via New York | 10/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the things about this documentary, that separates it from any that I have seen, is that it acknowledges that Hip Hop is just another extention of the artistic expression of African people in the United States. This is best stated by Eluard Burt II in the first minutes of the documentary by saying "Rap is just a stem, a part of the branch, of what we are all about..." The Oral Tradition and the use of the word is a part of the historical legacy of African people. With the commericialization of the artform, far too many are learning the culture from corporations rather than from the culprits.
Hip Hop came from the streets. The record companies created rap. What this documentary does is goes back to the streets and finds those unknown artist who aren't doing this for money, but for the love. They capture some of the energy that has brought many people through the oppressive conditions of the inner cities of America. That is the purest expression that you can get.
Though the documentary focuses on freestyling, it also explains briefly how it all started with DJ Kool Herc. Any Hip Hop documentary that doesn't address Herc, is incomplete. Being a native New Yorker, I lived the birth of the artform and watched how the originators of the this multi billion dollar industry don't even get paid... attention.
There is no way you can do a documentary about freestyling without including Supernatural and Craig G. They were without question, two of the best freestylers of all time and could hold their own now (Graig G wrote the battle rhymes for Eminiem's opponents in 8 Mile). Their Battle is nothing short of monumental. That is the Ali vs Frazier of hip hop.
What I appreciate is that he goes from east coast to west coast and addresses how both coast contributed to each others growth. Something rarely mentioned. Unfortunately this has been tainted by the media's creation of the east west coast beef.
What I didn't expect was that it it bypasses the violence that is too often associated with Hip Hop. Because in all honesty, the glorification of violence is tied to "rap" and record sales. Not the culture of Hip Hop. What you hear in most of the freestyles is social commentary, intellectual wordplay, storytelling, braggadocia, etc... the basis of what hip hop use to be.
All in all, this is a great illustration of what hip hop was and still is, but is often unseen and unheard. If your addicted to radio, MTV, BET, ETC... just understand, this isn't about the polished studio artist. If your not, this may be just what you have been waiting for. Something Raw. 4.5 Stars"