MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 8,692 this week

Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme (2000)

7.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 415 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 6 user | 14 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

A documentary about freestyling--the improvised, on-the-spot rhymes that demonstrate the skills of hip-hop MCs.

Director:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $9.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 44 titles
created 16 Nov 2012
 
a list of 30 titles
created 11 Feb 2013
 
a list of 29 titles
created 24 Jun 2013
 
a list of 117 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 47 titles
created 5 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme (2000)

Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme (2000) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme.
4 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Beef (2003)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A documentary on the evolution of MC battles from verbal one-upmanship to street warfare.

Director: Peter Spirer
Stars: Ving Rhames, 50 Cent, Kevin Anderson
The Show (1995)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A documentary about the culture of hip-hop. Through interviews with some of hip-hops biggest names, the film makers attempt to find out why it has become so popular.

Director: Brian Robbins
Stars: Craig Mack, Dr. Dre, Afrika Bambaataa
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A documentary on the secret dossiers that police, FBI, and task agencies have compiled on hip-hop performers and industry executives.

Director: Don Sikorski
Stars: Eric Adams, Dasun Allah, Lloyd Banks
The Freshest Kids (Video 2002)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

From the Boogie Down Bronx and beyond, the history of the B-Boy.

Director: Israel
Stars: Afrika Bambaataa, Mos Def, Fab 5 Freddy
Wild Style (1983)
Documentary | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Legendary New York graffiti artist Lee Quinones plays the part of Zoro, the city's hottest and most elusive graffiti writer. The actual story of the movie concerns the tension between ... See full summary »

Director: Charlie Ahearn
Stars: 'Lee' George Quinones, Lady Pink, Fab 5 Freddy
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Documentary examining the politics, music, and life of Tupac Shakur.

Director: Peter Spirer
Stars: Anthony 'Treach' Criss, Davey D, Snoop Dogg
Krush Groove (1985)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In this movie based on the early days of Def Jam Recordings, up-and-coming manager Russell Walker has all the hottest acts on the record label Krush Groove records, including Run-D.M.C., Dr... See full summary »

Director: Michael Schultz
Stars: Sheila E., Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels
Documentary | Biography | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Documentary on the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls and the East Coast/West Coast, hip-hop/rap rivalry that culminated in late 1996 and early 1997.

Director: Nick Broomfield
Stars: The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Nick Broomfield
Free Style (2008)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

Cale, is determined to win a coveted spot on the Grand National racing team without compromising his devotion to his friends and family

Director: William Dear
Stars: Corbin Bleu, Sandra Echeverría, Madison Pettis
Scratch (2001)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A feature-length documentary film about hip-hop DJing, otherwise known as turntablism. From the South Bronx in the 1970s to San Francisco now, the world's best scratchers, beat-diggers, ... See full summary »

Director: Doug Pray
Stars: Marc 7, Afra, Carlos Aguilar
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In the summer of 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan emerged from the slums of Staten Island and took the hip-hop world by storm. Their legacy spanned over a decade, garnering fans worldwide and ... See full summary »

Director: Gerald Barclay
Stars: Ralph McDaniels, Remedy Roll, Gano Grills
Big Fun in the Big Town (TV Movie 1986)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: Bram van Splunteren
Stars: Bill Adler, Dennis Bell, Vito Bruno
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself (archive footage)
Planet Asia ...
Himself
Bahamadia ...
Herself
Akim Funk Buddah ...
Himself
Eluard Burt ...
Himself
Myo Campbell ...
Himself
John Coltrane ...
Himself (archive footage)
Darkleaf ...
Himself
...
Himself
Kirby Dominant ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
Freestyle Fellowship ...
Themselves
Lord Finesse ...
Himself
Kevin Fitzgerald ...
Himself (voice)
Richard Fox
Edit

Storyline

From neighborhood ciphers to the most notorious MC battles, "Freestyle: the Art of Rhyme" captures the electrifying energy of improvisational hip-hop--the rarely recorded art form of rhyming spontaneously. Like preachers and jazz solos, freestyles exist only in the moment, a modern-day incarnation of the African-American storytelling tradition. Shot over a period of more than seven years, it is already an underground cult film in the hip-hop world. The film systematically debunks the false image put out by record companies that hip-hop culture is violent or money-obsessed. Instead, it lets real hip-hop artists, known and unknown, weave their story out of a passionate mix of language, politics, and spirituality. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 April 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Freestyle  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$4,842 (USA) (16 July 2004)

Gross:

$11,255 (USA) (23 July 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Directors Cut)
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Features Beat This!: A Hip Hop History (1984) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A so-so documentary made with... LOVE!
30 August 2004 | by (Berkeley, CA) – See all my reviews

This is a decent documentary with a very homemade and intimate feel, full of interesting people, and with compelling subject matter. Despite its admirable goals, I feel that it was a documentary with major flaws in it, and I have the sense that it had the potential to be a lot better than it was. Some of these shortcomings I would level against the director, while some seem to have their roots in the art form itself.

Most importantly, as a showcase for freestyle as an art form, it is surprising to see how the MCs in this movie are, by and large, pretty wack. There are a few that are quite good-- particularly a talented freestyler named Juice who is easily the best rapper depicted -- but for the most part they are mediocre rappers with poor flow, throwing around tired battle rhymes. Even Supernatural, who is often cited as the world's best freestyler, doesn't seem all that remarkable. Nor does the much heralded Mos Def, who raps in a monotonous style that quickly proves tedious and boring. However, there is a very early clip of Biggie Smalls at age 17, rhyming in the streets of New York; it's both historically interesting and one of the better examples of freestyle featured in the movie. This clip also has a way of showing how a better selection of rhymes would have drastically improved the quality of the documentary. And even though "Freestyle" catches the loose and casual feel of impromptu "cyphers" (circles of freestylers that rhyme and battle), it is largely unable to capture many transcendent rhymes, the kind that you go to the movie in hopes of seeing. Unfortunately, there are only a couple times you might be genuinely impressed by the rhymes. In general, freestyle comes off in the movie as something that you respect and appreciate "in theory" rather than when you're actually presented with it, again, with a few exceptions.

If you didn't already know about freestyling, and hadn't already been exposed to good freestyling, this movie might convince you that freestyling is an interesting facet of urban culture, but it probably would not make a strong argument that it's a art form worth paying attention to. Sure, there are isolated moments of interest, but in general, it comes off here as a rather undeveloped art. On top of that there's all these guys doing these unenlightened rhymes that hardly seem like important or progressive social, political, or even humanitarian statements. I would have liked to have seen people rapping about intelligent things, not insulting each others' physical appearances and making wack attacks on each other's clothes! And yes, I realize that these MC battles are part of what freestyling is about and where it came from, yet the director does not attempt to explain what socially progressive purpose such rhymes provide. Agreed, that it helps create community, but what use is that community without a positive purpose? After all, it's not hard to gather crowds around fights.

In this manner, too much effort is made by the director to make freestyling out to be a "spiritual" exercise. While it is conceivably true, "Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme" nakedly makes overtures to convince you of this at every possible opportunity; and at times, it seems to use this "spiritual" veneer to gloss over the rampant violence, misogyny, and homophobia that comes through in many of the freestyle lyrics. It seems disingenuous on the part of the director to portray these rhymes as "spiritual" and "expressions of the divine" when they don't seem particularly bent on promoting consciousness. Instead, it almost seems that all the "spiritual" talk is a way of deflecting this sort of criticism.

In the end, I think this movie is largely for "heads" (AKA hardcore hip-hop fans); anyone else won't come out feeling too impressed by this art form, if their only exposure to it is based on this documentary. But ironically, hip-hop fans who will be interested in this subject matter are probably already knowledgeable about freestyling, and would likely be familiar with better and more interesting rhymes, ones that could elicit more provoking thought than these. For what it's worth, this movie is clearly a labor of love, and there's a deep respect and love for hip-hop culture involved in the making of this movie, but unfortunately it doesn't really translate into a very compelling documentary.


18 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Tupac....but no Big L? fxuwl
subtitles furreto
whats the song at the end hassanmiah
DVD ko_ko_ko
Mos Def +Talib chevyraycer
the opening title beat... dirty_punetang
Discuss Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme (2000) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page