Most of this film was shot only on digital (Mini DV) camcorders, the kind you can buy at any electronics store. While this sacrificed quality, it allowed them to shoot with 15 cameras at a time, and it also allowed Spike Lee to get all the footage he needed shot within the film's modest budget. The only scenes shot on film were the "Mantan: The New Millennium Minstrel Show" sequences, which were shot on 16mm film.
The two award ceremony scenes are parodies of two real award recipients whom Spike Lee has publicly criticized: the first, where DelaCroix is fumbling around and yelling "Show me the money!", is a jab at Cuba Gooding Jr.'s enthusiastic victory speech for winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor; the second scene, in which DelaCroix becomes a teary-eyed brown-noser to Matthew Modine, is a shot at Ving Rhames' Golden Globe victory in which he gave teary-eyed kudos to Jack Lemmon.
The names of two characters are based on real performers of the past. "Mantan" came from Mantan Moreland and "Sleep 'n' Eat" was based on Willie Best, who was sometimes credited only as "Sleep 'n' Eat" in early films.
The one white member of the Mau Maus, named 1/16th Blak in the movie, was played by M.C. Serch, a member of the 80s/90s rap act 3rd Bass. The Mau Maus sing a portion of 3rd Bass's song "The Gas Face" while hanging out in the studio: "Black cat is bad luck, bad guys wear black / Musta been a white guy who started all that."
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
At the end of the film where the rap group The Mau Maus get shot and killed in a shootout with police and the only survivor was the only white member of the group, was based on a true account from the early '90s where a California street gang was also in a shootout with police. Instead, there were two survivors, both were also white. One had been shot in the leg but he lived.