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I am not a huge fan of hip-hop music, but I am somewhat fascinated by it as an art form. First of all, I think it's unfair how hip-hop artists get such bad raps (no pun intended) because their material contains references to violence, sex, rape and drug use, as well as being drenched in profanity. Who said art has to be clean? When a motion picture shows things like gang violence and strong sexual content, the film is acclaimed for being "realistic" and "compelling." As one of the rappers said in the film, (paraphrasing) "Arnold Schwarzenegger can make a movie where he kills a bunch of cops, but we can't make a song about killing one cop." When these artists live around such horrors, what are they supposed to rap about? Rainbows and fields full of lillies? You write what you know about. Your inspiration comes from real-life experience.
What these rappers do takes talent. A lot of them do freestyling, where they just belt out rhymes off the top of their heads. That takes a strong imagination and quick wits. Most singers spend hours coming up with lyrics to their songs.
The film really fascinates me, as it sheds light on many aspects of hip-hop. It never drags, it's only 90 minutes long and the pace is tight. The documentary never goes off into tangents. I learned some interesting new things like the fact that most hip-hop artists don't "enjoy" living in the hood. In the case of Ice-T, once he became rich and successful, he bought himself a swanky house on the hills. He says, "White people look around my house and they tell me that I have a nice house, but what they really mean to say is that I have a nice house for a black man." I thought that was a very compelling statement.
I would recommend this film even more to those who aren't big fans of hip-hop, because it will educate you. Fans of the music will probably enjoy it more on an entertainment level. Of course, some will choose to stray from any film having to do with hip-hop, but the open-minded moviegoer knows much better.
My score: 7 (out of 10)
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