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The Great Hip Hop Hoax (2013)

Scottish rappers Billy Boyd and Gavin Bain reinvent themselves as West Coast Homeboys after they were signed by Sony.



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Credited cast:
Billy Boyd


Californian hip-hop duo Silibil n' Brains were going to be massive. No one knew the pair were really Scottish, with fake American accents and made up identities. When their promising Scottish rap act was branded "the rapping Proclaimers" by scornful A&Rs, friends Billy and Gavin reinvented themselves as LA homeboys. The real deal. The lie was their golden ticket to a dream life. With confessions from the scammers, insight from the music execs they duped and doodle reconstructions, the film charts the roller coaster story of the highs of the scam and the lows of madness and the personal toll the deception took. A film about truth, lies and the legacy of faking everything in the desperate pursuit of fame. Written by Glimmer Films

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scottish | hip hop | rap | hoax | deception | See All (23) »


Californian hip-hop duo Silibil n' Brains were going to be massive. No one knew the pair were really two students from Scotland, with fake US accents and made up identities.


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Release Date:

6 September 2013 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

I megali farsa tou hip hop  »

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Yank Off
18 October 2013 | by (a small island near Europe) – See all my reviews

This is a damn fine documentary. Jeanie Finlay has done a great job not only with the interviews but also the music, the archive footage and, most importantly, the plot and pacing.

This is a really compelling and suspenseful story, which isn't something you can say for many documentaries. Two young rappers go from Scotland to London to break into the music industry -- and when they fail, they go back again pretending to be American. And they make it. Almost.

The personalities are fascinating, especially seeing the switch from interviews with Billy and Gavin to footage of Silibil & Brains on the rampage. The breathtaking, barefaced cheek of them, and the insane intensity of living in character, makes for irresistibly absorbing viewing.

I'm also blown away at the central idea of their hoax: pretending to be foreign through national pride. Think about it. Yes, it's completely crackers. Barking bloody mad, in fact. But it's also absolute genius in my eyes.

For me, the worst aspect of this film is the animation. It looks like an online ad, more or less, with just a little extra movement -- ugly designs, no flow, looks like it was coloured on MS Paint, etc -- but it's a fairly minor distraction.

The only other negative is... well, the music industry. Because it's depressing as hell. But we knew that anyway, right? I look forward to catching Sound It Out from the same director, also musically themed, although I might skip Goth Cruise, since I'm still in denial over my own teenage goth phase.

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