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Fade to Black More at IMDbPro »

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Already a classic hiphop video

10/10
Author: Piedreau from Utrecht
28 November 2004

If you're a Jay Z fan this registration is a trip down memory lane. The concert and the backgrounds behind the songs off the Black Album are portrayed and during one last concert at Madison Square Garden the roof is blown off by one of rap's most talented mc's. Starring everyone from Mary J Blige, Beyonce to R. Kelly as guest performers this show has it all. One hell of a concert will give you insights into his music and if you weren't a fan yet, you will be after the credits roll.

Most hiphop or concert videos are done poorly. A few takes behind the scenes of bored band members and screaming groupies tell you nothing your imagination couldn't have figured out for itself. This movie however shows new insights into the way the collaboration with different artists works and yet doesn't distract from it's main purpose: show you the music, send you the vibe people must have had at the concert at Madison Square Garden.

Top notch!

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

From Marcy to Madison Square

10/10
Author: ThomYorke from Middlesbororo, Kentucky
17 April 2005

When "Reasonable Doubt" was released, it was an instant classic by one of the best rappers of all time.

Jay-Z's "Fade to Black" is two movies in one. The first is Jay's last concert at Madison Square Garden promoting his latest and last album, "The Black Album." The second film is recording sessions that go behind Jay'Z's making of said album.

Well, the concert footage is great. One of the best concert films I've ever seen. Jay-Z's performance on stage is nothing short of adrenaline pumping. The guests are always game, even, if only for a verse. Some get more screen time than others, such as Memphis Bleek. Twista, Kanye West, Memph Bleek and Beanie Siegel make an impression. Mary J Blige is excellent. Others, such as Missy Elliott and Foxy Brown barely make an impression.

In short, this is an excellent concert film and if you are a Jay-Z fan, you should buy this one, because you will not be disappointed.

Some minor quibbles. The making of the album footage, while interesting, because Jay-Z never writes his rhymes down, he memorizes them all, and kinda freestyles in the booth, that's very compelling. But, it does get a bit redundant.

This film would be a ten if it was just the concert from beginning to end.

Minor quibbles. Great concert film. Energetic, always entertaining and humorous, this is a good film, especially if you're a hip hop fan. If not, something may be lost in translation. But, if you're inclined to read this, you will not be disappointed. Thumbs way up.

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When Jay-Z retired from rap (2004)

Author: Adam_West_as_Batdan from Edinbruhhh
24 March 2016

This documentary is part making of THE BLACK ALBUM and part his retirement concert in Madison Square Guarden intertwined with each other.

Throughout the documentary there is constant talk of Jay-Z's retirement with fans and friends talking about how they can't believe the Jigga man is retiring.

But of course that all turned out to be nothing more than a publicity stunt because 2 years later he released a new album and have made countless albums since.

So it definitely loses it's value from that fact, although tbh I and many others never believed him when he said he was retiring and there are enough good performances and insight on the making of the album that it makes worth watching regardless (if you're a fan).

Even if Jay-Z's performance on MTV's UNPLUGGED was a lot better though.

So yeah nothing amazing, and the retirement was just another hustle for Hov to put on his resumé and as he said 'you can't knock the hustle' so I guess we can't knock it too hard, and it's a hard knock life after all so knock knock on.

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Who Watches this Garbage?

1/10
Author: aaronburdsall-27-50262 from United States
6 December 2015

This was painful to watch. It was as if Jay-Z said, "How can I scam money out of brainless fans? Oh, let's make a film telling them how great I am....then charge them to see it!" Where do I begin? The direction is terrible. I think the worst college film student could have done a better job. The camera work was a joke.

The editing seemed to be all over the place with almost no coherent thought put in. I bet they were high the whole time in the editing room. Now I wasn't expecting Oscar caliber film making, but my word...my 6 year old nephew could have done better job.

I don't know who I have less respect for...the talentless so called "artist" in this film or the fans that actually buy his albums. Do yourself a favor, have a little bit of self respect and avoid this disaster of a film.

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A good, authentic look at the man in his prime-- great live footage

8/10
Author: eyelineronacat from Chicago
29 November 2013

It's nearly impossible not to get caught up in the insane energy of the live performance scenes in this movie (from Jay as well as the audience, who were in love with the world, Jay, and whatever joker standing next to them in the rows out there too), and the man is obviously at his peak here. It didn't feel like a super-cohesive film, but that doesn't bug me too much. I could watch hours of him doing his thing in the studio and Rick Rubin and whoever else is there just sort of marveling at Jay's self-proclaimed "Rainman" routine of just sounding everything out until the puzzle pieces fit. He is not my favorite hip hop artist by a long shot but he is sure as hell interesting, and this film needed to be made, if not for anything else other than posterity. I've watched Fade to Black a good dozen times over the years. I like the authenticity of this film a LOT more than the recent documentary, Made In America-- which was amusing as hell and I loved the collection of artists, but many of the montage bits and segues were pretty pretentious.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

History is made...

10/10
Author: from United States
24 June 2005

Fade to black is one of the most amazing hip hop videos of all time...revolving around Jay-Z's magical night of performance in Madison Square garden...in his song "ENCORE" the lyrics "from marcy to madison square" were stated, and is exemplified in this terrific video. Showcasing his vast talents of rapping, getting the crowd to "vibe" with him, and with wonderful cameos and collaborations...from foxy brown, to the roc-a-fella crew, to R. Kelly, this is truly one of the best concerts caught on film...the footage of "the making of the black album" was incredible...i was dumbfounded at the method of Jay-Z writes his lyrics...this type of insight make this video an instant classic...i am giving it a rating that it deserves, 10 out of 10...Jay-Z mentions "this is history in the making" in the video, and with this video as proof, it only shows that "history has been made"...

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Last Waltz is boring

10/10
Author: milk-11 from Brooklyn
8 November 2004

Concert films by definition are boring. After 30 minutes you always start looking at your watch. Fade to Black somehow stays fresh for almost two hours. Although the film is far from perfect it is swollen personality and charisma. At points, it's down right hilarious. It breathes life into an almost dead genre of film. I like the way it hops back and fourth between the legendary concert and now historic Black Album studio sessions. Also, I've never heard a concert film sound that good ever! I thought my face was going to melt once Jay-Z took the stage. Fade to Black rewrites the definition of concert film and as time goes on will eventually be called a classic.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

AWESOME!!!

10/10
Author: kingmilesthethird from philly, pa
7 November 2004

if you're not a fan of hip hop, or can't see it as an art form this movie should change that for you. the conception of the black album and concert are documented to perfection. i will say that this movie is for fans, and there are things (ie his "rainman" ability to write songs) that will not translate well to people who aren't seriously into music. the movie will surely be judged as a concert film and not as the documentary that it is. fans of jay-z/hip hop will love it and will be able to respect what it takes for a hip hop show to sell out the garden in an hour. muchless, deliver one of the greatest performances in recent memory. overall an excellent documentary!

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8 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

As good a billboard for his platinum-selling "Black Album" as he could get.

Author: jdesando from United States
29 November 2004

Here are my credentials for reviewing the documentary about Jay-Z's 'farewell' performance in Madison Square Garden. Talk about 'square': I am a student of language and literature (Ph.D. in English) and trained in rapid talking (licensed auctioneer), but I cannot repeat to you more than a half dozen words from this energetic and positive look at one of rap's icons. His glossing of 'idiosyncrasy' for the audience was both a kindness and a put down but at least understandable.

Although I saw Eminem's early Detroit life in '8 Mile' and connected with Metallica's challenges in 'Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,' because of my inexperience with Jay-Z's music, I could not get past my ear's inability to hear the lyrics or even the dressing room and studio talk, a slight testimony to Bill Cosby's warnings about language. Yet, virtually everyone at that November 2003 concert knew every word of his songs. I am in the minority on this one.

Anyway, about a well-structured film I already have some idea. 'Fade to Black' is a faithful rendering of the excitement and beat of the Garden show. With the likes of girl friend Beyonce (whose scantily-clad, lip-syncing performance of 'Crazy in Love' is worth the admission price), Mary J. Blige, and R. Kelly (before the rift) joining Jay-Z, the film relays the energy and synergy of performers who speak to countless hip-hop fans. It is also as good a billboard for his platinum-selling "Black Album" as he could get.

Therefore, because so much of the documentary is dedicated to the performance, little is allowed for getting to know the rapper and how he creates. That he does not write down his machine-gun lyrics is a rare insight (In '8 Mile' I loved the exhilaration of seeing and hearing young people fight with 'vocabulary' rather than guns); that he cares about how his words effect his fans is sweet; what he does to shape the 'tracks' into pop gold as he listens to them in the studio is never satisfactorily explained (and surely the most boring part of the film). 'Metallica,' for instance, has an accurate rendering of the rock group's long struggle to create its latest album. Perhaps an exploration of Jay-Z's 'Hard Knock Life' would have better taught us about this post-gangsta powerhouse. A documentary should teach; 'Fade' mostly shows. Or maybe that's all there is.

As even I know, he reneged on the 'farewell,' remarkable because his other businesses such as his 'Roc-a-fella' recording label and clothing line could have kept him busy for a lifetime. I suspect music is much better for his forsaking retirement.

Like the opening and closing aerial shots of New York at night, we are too far away to get close to understanding the performer. Like the city, he dazzles and eludes.

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