From my movie watching experience I've gathered that it's a real challenge to make a quality, fictional portrayal of an up and coming rapper, or for that matter any film that centers around the hip-hop culture. First of all, this is a solid movie regardless of its subject matter. It's thoroughly entertaining, well acted, moving, humorous at times and all that good stuff. I would not go so far as to call this a great film, but it is a very good first effort from a director that you'll certainly hear about again (Brandon Sonnier). The music aspect is certainly just one facet of this movie, which is ultimately a pretty intense drama.
As a hip-hop film, The Beat also succeeds. The main character does his own rhyming; well enough that it was difficult to tell whether he is an actor/rapper or a rapper/actor, which I guess is a good thing. If you like rap, the music in the film is good, not amazing, but definitely worthy of being listened to. If you don't like rap, I wouldn't expect to love the soundtrack, but I do think the music is palatable for almost all audiences. The portrayal of the hip-hop scene/culture is not over the top and all the characters are believable personalities. There are some rap stars in the film too, which adds a bit of attraction if you listen to hip-hop.
Essentially, this is not another movie with Eminem or 50 Cent deciding to become movie stars. It's... better than that.
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