Fear of a Black Hat (1993) Poster

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steve-1293 November 1998
After a big tip of the hat to Spinal Tap, this movie is hilarious. Anyone who grew up watching MTV will love it and if you didn't, rent it anyway,the "My Peanuts" and "A Gangster's life" videos are worth the three bucks alone.
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The best "mockumentary" ever made
rogerw18 May 1999
"Fear Of A Black Hat" is everything the (much weaker) "CB-4" SHOULD have been. Rusty Cundieff's satirical eye is ruthless, as he folds, spindles, and mutilates every aspect of hip-hop trends and culture. Does "FoaBH" resemble Spinal Tap? Yes, a bit. Is it derivative of Spinal Tap? No, not really. The aim is more focused, the satire is better focused, and to be honest, it's funnier.
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An Excellent Comedy.
gangstahippie12 August 2006
Rated R for Strong Language,Violent Content and Some Nudity. Quebec Rating:13+ Canadian Home Video Rating:14A

Fear Of A Black Hat is one of the funniest, most original comedies I have ever seen.Its basically a gangsta rap version of the film This Is Spinal Tap.Its a shame not many people have heard of this gem of a film.If you manage to find this film anywhere don't hesitate to buy it even if you don't like rap music.There are not too many comedy films that I give a perfect 10/10 to.The only ones I can think of at the moment are this film,Clerks,The World According To Garp,The 40 Year Old Virgin and Chasing Amy.This film is a hilarious stereotype of the gangsta rap culture.The movie is about a woman named Nina Blackburn who is making a documentary about the fictional rap group N.W.H(N****z with hats).They are basically the stereotype of a rap group making many controversial rap songs about killing and being a gangsta.Fear Of A Black Hat is an excellent comedic film and I recommend it even if you are not a fan of the gangsta rap scene.Its a shame this film is not in the Top 250.


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The wit and wisdom of Tasty Taste
Smoothpants1 November 2003
C'mon...how can you be against a rap-mockumentary that features the line:

"I want to make you mine, slap yo fat behind, tie you down and make you whine. I want you to scratch my itch and be my b***h....cause I luv you girl."

One of the most consistently funny movies I've ever seen.
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Brialiant stupid comedy, love it!
russcarlin21 October 2008
This is a really funny film, especially the second, third and fourth time you watch it. It's a pretty short film, and i definitely recommend watching it more than once, you will 'get it' more the second time.

It's like spinal tap but the rap version. It has a lot of attitude in it which can be a negative thing in rap influenced films, but it's just a total p**s take and isn't a problem because of the irony it creates.

Plenty of stand-out bits, one of those types of films which you will find yourself quoting lines with your mates, and it WILL raise laughter.

My personal favourite part is the 'guerrillas in the midst' section. Great video, superb!
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Overall, pretty funny
EYEboy20 November 1998
Although it rips off SPINAL TAP scene-by-scene in some instances, FEAR OF A BLACK HAT offers up enough belly laughs -- some of them very large -- to make it worth a look. Rusty Cundieff, who did some hysterically funny segments for Michael Moore's TV Nation program, proves himself to be a solid director with an eye for biting satire. Unfortunately, some of the jokes are a little weak. That said, there are moments when this movie nails some of the hypocrisies of pop music (not just hip-hop). Pretty good performances all around, too.
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man, that ain't nothing! tasty was shot with a bazooka!!! he used to be 6 foot 4 before he got capped!
rudy bazelmans22 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
i've just read the most recent remarks about this movie and i would like to respond. you're probably not familiar with the original story of rap group N.W.A. which dates back to the beginning in 1988, in 1989 ice cube left the band to go solo and ultimately in 1991, the band breaking up when Dr.dre left. which led to a lot of beef starting with the departure of ice cube and dr.dre in 1991. this story was somewhat based on that.

further more this movie was a 90 minute laughing spree, the way they explained the bootie juice song to be a political statement was hilarious. not to mention the "love song" tasty was hooking up. and when vanilla sherbert got his ass kicked, just like the record company executive is also hilarious and having they're managers getting shot every time too.

people who didn't enjoy this movie probably didn't get it or were complete idiots, my opinion
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More than just The 'Tap of Rap
PapaBear122 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, my title is kinda lame, and almost sells this flick short. I remember watching Siskel & Ebert in '94 talking about this movie, and then playing a clip or two. Not being a rap-conscious guy (although I could identify Snoop Dogg, Vanilla Ice, and MC Hammer music), I wasn't much interested when they started talking about the film. But then, S&E showed the scene where the band explains how they picked their name (using some "shady" logic and a bunch of "made up" facts), and then another scene where the band, and their rival band, both visit a school to promote getting involved (and, of course, NWH comes up with some "info" about how the rival band leader is a loser because he got good grades in school and was on the yearbook committee). So I filed it away that I should see this movie.

A couple of years later, this thing shows up on HBO and I recorded it, only to laugh my butt off for hours. Yes, it has a "Spinal Tap" kind of rhythm to it...even the documentarist takes essentially the same "tone" in setting up the clips, and the band follows a similar path (what I now call the "Behind the Music" phenomenon - smalltime band has good chemistry, gets famous, too much money too fast, squabbling, drugs, some type of death, band breaks up, then reconciles, finishing with a hope for more albums in the future, and fade to black). The one thing that is true is that in Spinal Tap, you catch the band perhaps with a little more success in their past. But Tap drags at some points, and in my mind is reduced to laughs that are set up by specific scenes. Oh, this is his rant about the backstage food, this is spot where he wants the amp to go to "ELEVEN", this is the spot where the guy makes the pint-sized stonehenge, etc...

Contrasting to FoaBH, which seems to have more "unexpected" humor. You can see some of it coming, but there isn't a big setup for every joke. Sometimes, the jokes just kinda flow. Cundieff and the other actors in the band had a real chemistry that worked. Also, the direct references to Vanilla Ice, Hammer, and a bunch of other caricature-type rappers really worked well. This strikes me as a film you watch once to get the main story and laughs, and then go back and watch to catch the subtle jokes. And the songs. Is "My Peanuts" better than "Big Bottom" (from Spinal Tap)? I don't know - but they're both damn funny. Tone Def's awful video during his "awakening" phase is so bizarre, yet so funny.

I could go on awhile, but save your time and don't waste it on CB4. I watched the first half hour, and got bored. You don't get bored on FoaBH. There are slightly less funny moments, but you can never tell when something good is about to happen. Perhaps my favorite scene is when Ice Cold and Tastey Taste (name ripoffs if I've ever heard any) discover they've been sharing the same girl....at one point, you've got those two pointing guns at each other, and the next thing you know, the manager, the photographer, the girl, and I think even Tone Def are in the room pointing guns at each other, switching targets back and forth. And, of course, someone does get shot.

I did find it odd that NWH's managers suffered similar fates to Spinal Tap's drummers (although none spontaneously combusted, I don't think). There were enough similarities that I cannot ignore the likelihood that Cundieff saw "Spinal Tap" prior to writing this film, although this is clearly much more the Spinal Tap of hip-hop. While some similarities exist, the humor is different, and the movie seems more like a real documentary (maybe because we don't recognize a single actor in this thing, even the guy who played "Lamar" from "Revenge of the Nerds"). All in all, this movie has, in my opinion, "street cred". Kinda like NWH.
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Even whitey likes it
JB-11314 May 2000
Well I don't personally like rap, but I still found Fear of a Black Hat hilarious. I'm sure I didn't get some inside jokes, but some I knew, and it was funny enough to make me laugh just after I'd stopped laughing. I'm a big fan of Spinal tap, so naturally I had to check this out. It was deriviative from This Is Spinal Tap, sometimes blatantly, but this film still stood on it's own as an original, intelligent, and funny satire. My personal favorite: "Back in the time of slaves, they didn't have hats to protect them from the sun, so at the end of the day they were too tired to revolt. Now we have hats."
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Dead-on cheaply produced rapumentary
M T13 May 2003
If you like rap or hip-hop, watch this movie, although it's funny if you don't get the references, as a straight comedy.

Haven't seen much of the much hyped CB4, but what I did see didn't have the heart that this little stormer has.

Haven't heard from the people involved since, which is a surprise. The film is very similar to Spinal Tap, which is no bad thing, and I think a lot of the dialogue, while priceless in Tap is funnier here, probably because I'm more into rap than rock theses days, so my own judgment does cloud that point.

The rap songs are funny as hell, and it's basically spot the reference for most of the film, not all of them are in-your-face, which means the physical comedy and the one-liners get priority over the take-offs.

Great fun, one to watch twice if there ever was a movie.
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Finally, a rap comedy for opera lovers
Varlaam16 December 1998
I'm too old to know (or care) exactly what the difference between rap and hip-hop is. And, being Canadian, it's likely that I've never actually seen MTV, but I'm not certain.

But I thought this film was very funny when I saw it, a bright little satire. Hip-hop culture is so pervasive these days that it's difficult not to keep hearing about it over and over. (If only we could say the same about bagpipe music.) I got most of the jokes (at least I think I did). Sure, it's derived from Spinal Tap, but there are lots of targets that could stand a Tap treatment. Just not the Carpenters, they're sacred.
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Wait a sec. mate.....
n.j.mcneill1 June 2000
Just a note to add to the above comment. Fear of a Black Hat doesn't have the criminal who's image has been ripped off by the band, that's in CB4. Easily confused as the two films are so similar, but Black Hat is vastly the superior of the two..... yeah.
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A must see satire!
J D15 July 2012
This movie is hilarious and while the satire leans against material dated from the 80's and early 90's, if you know enough hip hop and pop culture then you'd find it funny, even today. The writing is excellent, the jokes are funny and well delivered and the songs are hilarious. Two 'videos' in the movie, one titled 'Booty Juice' and the other "A Gangstas life ain't fun" hit home today just as well as they did when this movie came out. It appears that much of the hip hop life style and creed hasn't changed much over the years. The movie is consistently funny from beginning to end, with many of the jokes dead panned and often subtly delivered. It's easy to miss a lot of the jokes during the film if you aren't familiar with the subjects that they are poking fun at. But again, much of what the director delivers is still funny and relevant even today. A must see satire!
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Outrageously funny and on-target....
Harrison-3722 April 2005
I saw it in a posh movie theater where the audience is usually white, educated, and urban. The showing I attended had a sprinkling of African-Americans, and it made the difference in audience-reaction between the two groups a wonderful social commentary on the state of race relations in this country. Basically, the white folks were AFRAID to laugh or laughed nervously at the funny bits --and there are many! -- because they'd be "laughting at Blacks", while the Blacks also stayed pretty silent because many couldn't laugh at themselves in front of the whites.

I, on the other hand, being Asian (and thus belonging to neither group), had a great time viewing this satire of rap culture and its egos/trappings/values/pseudo-philosophies. The cast is talented and does at great job becoming the characters portrayed. The songs are too funny to be believed.

This film is one of the best pseudo-documentaries to come along, including "A Mighty Wind"
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Forgotten Silver
El Guapo-29 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
My, Kasi Lemmings certainly is a fair looking woman. This film is a lost gem, a dead-on satire "mockumentary" of the early 90's Hip Hop scene, when MC Hammer had just began to fade away into that good night. We follow the three members of the NWH as they embark upon their picaresque journey of would-be riches and fame. And like Nickolas Nickleby, at the end, they finish their journey not far from where they started, but at least a little wiser and lot less naive. This is one of the best films that no one has ever heard of, but it's the kind of film you either love or hate, a lot like "Company Man" in this regard. I regard this movie like the 1000 islands of upstate New York: it's a wonderful little secret you want to keep to yourself.
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A cool spoof
YotRoaxer29 December 2004
I have zero interest rap and in ghetto culture, i'm white and like classic rock, however, that did not stop me from appreciating this fantastic comedy. Its pretty much a sequel of This Is Spinal Tap in the sense that it is the same movie, just about rap instead or rock. Yet it's hilarious. There are many funny jokes but not without a few jokes that just fall flat. The characters are all very funny and believable. I watched just because it made me laugh at 3 a.m., and any movie that can do that warrants at least a test screening. One of the reasons why this movies was so funny was that it makes fun of rap from a different. Rap today is concerned with the wrong things and get by with studio noise and little talent. This movie comes from a time where rappers deserved more credit. Overall, it's a funny movie with many jokes about racism, sex and music culture among the more obvious themes of humor. This is highly recommend for any fan of This is Spinal Tap. They are essentially the same movie, just about different worlds, and yes, the same jokes work in both movies.
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Up to individual tastes, but I loved it
manalone92321 January 2004
Personally, I have loved this film for a decade, since way back in 1994 when the vhs copy began with the "Ice Froggy Frog" video. To like this movie, you must have at least an interest in black culture and, more specifically, an interest in the rap/hip hop culture, whether positive or negative. I myself am a 25 year old white man, and used to be more or less indifferent to 90's hip hop but quite dislike the current trend of rap (which covers a total of four subjects: Violence, racism, misogyny, and superiority to others in some way or another). I can handle those subjects fine, I just don't like hearing about it nonstop with little change. Eminem wants to shoot somebody? Gangsta A wants to have sex with woman B? The east coast rappers hate the west coast and vice versa, and will do drive by's to all who oppose them? See, I just don't care, because it's all the same and I don't find any of it very entertaining or intelligent. Nothing against the rappers personally, I just don't know how singing about women being sex toys or slapping a band-aid on your face translates into billionaire-worthy genius, as it does to every new person who rhymes nowadays. Oh and don't worry all you rappers out there, I'm not a big fan of my current "pop" selections either. Britney's not a virgin/got married/annulled/made an "angry" video/jumped into religion? Jennifer Lopez is on the tv so #&%^$ much that she's going to become a seperate button on all future television sets? Good God, do I wish people just sang a little bit and then got the hell out of my life. Well I digress. See, I'm bitter, because I can't stand today's music, be it white or black or whatever. But Fear of a Black Hat (FOABH from here) takes me back to the early 90's, when all kinds of musical styles existed and singers were judged more by talent than how they dressed. Well, that stopped with such cultural "phenomenons" as Kriss-Kross and Nirvana, but I digress again. In FOABH, we follow the brief career of rap group Niggas Wit Hats (NWH). The movie is fictitous and the people are all actors, but it is filmed in a documentary style with the gimmick in mind although these characters don't really exist, people quite similar to them do, and this is the movie that makes fun of them. In this film, which is so well done that at first glance it DOES look genuine, subjects such as gun obsession, racism, misogyny, white rappers, and even the aforementioned Kriss Kross and made fun of and/or explored. The director, Rusty Cundieff (playing "Ice Cold") has a great ear for dialogue and an even better one for melody, as the film contains a dozen NWH songs, each with its own theme and almost every one of them catchy despite being parodic material. We don't really see NWH's beginnings, but we do hear about it as we learn information such as the fact that the group's last several managers have been white, and killed mysteriously as well. This leads to questions of racism, even more so when one of the group's albums was called "Don't shoot until you see the whites". But being white, I still wasn't offended because the jokes are tongue in cheek, and no genuine ill is intended. These characters are exaggerated stereotypes, not offensive but rather playful in exploiting and making fun of the genuine issues at its core. If I'm gonna get offended at the notion of these characters wanting to kill white people, then the black members of the audience can be upset at the portrayal of a black character who loves guns and threatens to shoot anything he sees. But we shouldn't, because this movie doesn't take itself that seriously and neither should the viewer. It's also acted well, with the characters coming off as believable yet ridiculous, with their giant goofball hats (which are in fact explained in a stupid yet thought-provoking diatribe) and their silly habit of making every ostensibly crude song actually stand for something much more intelligent. Yet for their wit, it's funny to see the group more or less made fools throughout the film, as they have to struggle to get their name on the signs and a rival, more hardcore rap group dismisses them at every opportunity. It's somehow fun to watch these tortured geniuses at work, doing their best to carve a niche in the transitional period between early 90's hip hop and the edgier stuff we know today. As for laughs, I can't honestly say I do more than chuckle with it when I watch, but that doesn't mean much. What should matter instead is the fact that I laughed good and hard when I first saw it, and have watched it regularly in the ten years since. However, that does give the film and unfortunate outdatedness, as some joke characters (an MC Hammer parody) and now-uncommon phrases ("Word", "Kick It") fall a little flat. Much of the film is still strangely relevant though, such as the gun fascination, the harsh attitude towards women, and still rocky race-relations. But I can only say that the movie was definitely timely when first released, and can't help if things change later on. I just doubt as many people will be kind to it now, having never seen it when it was first meant to be seen. Still, I definitely found it worth a look, especially to the black community or those interested in rap/hip hop culture. And for all Spinal Tap fans, this is the ultimate companion piece.
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Brilliant Mockumentary
cafesmitty1 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw this movie when it came out in 1994 and just watched it recently and it is STILL funny. I don't know if you have to understand hiphop in the 90's, but it helps if you do. In the 90's when NWA and Public Enemy were at the top, there were internal strife within the groups and members when their separated ways (Ice Cube, Easy E, etc). Also there were the wanna b's, accessible rappers that start making the scene (Vanilla Ice, Freedom Williams from C&C Music Factory, etc). This movie makes fun of all of that in a way that seems like it's an actually documentary. Kasi Lemmons plays an interviewer that spends a year in the life of a fictitious rap group name N.W.H. The members of the group are Ice Code (Rusty Condieff/director), Tasty Taste (Larry B Scott/Revenge of the Nerds, and Tone Def (Mark Christopher Lawrence). They are an up and coming rap group whose politics makes them controversial. Whats good about this film is that it is so thourough in its portrayal of the hiphop industry of the 80s and they way it pokes fun at it. But, if you know 80's/90's rap, you know how much of this stuff is true. Still, on it's own, without hip hop knowledge, it is still a funny funny movie. And for all of those who ask, yes Spinal Tap came first, but Spinal Tap is not the first spoof movie either. This, in my opinion is equally as funny and in some ways, better than Spinal Tap. As Spinal Tap is to heavy metal, Fear of A Black Planet is to Rap. And the songs are off the hook also. The DVD is chalk full of extras to include music videos of NWH as a group and as solo artists. Brilliant performances by Rusty Condieff and Larry B Scott.
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Wonderful creative effort
rehaufler28 March 2004
This picture apparently was largely the work of the lead character: Rusty Cundieff. Mr. Cundieff wrote, directed, developed most of the "MTV"-like song and dance scenes, and, of course, starred in this film. This was a very good effort and one of my favorite all time films.

This is a parody "mocumentary" of the life and times of an up and coming rap group. This film shows the rise, fall, disintegration, and reuniting of this group.

Note - Mr. Cundieff has also worked with Michael Moore in the past on "TV Nation."
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jpalma8011 January 2004
This Movie is excellent. if you get the DVD Version make sure to put the commentary on.. Rusty is a true talent, and the rest of the cast do a great Job. If this is any consolation to Larry B. Scott, I'm also a fan of Revenge of the Nerds but I swear I can not connect those two characters to one actor, excellent Job..
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Truly hilarious satire spotlighting culture clash on several levels - something for everyone - not to be missed
Gilbert_Doubet13 November 2003
You don't have to know a thing about rap music to love this screamingly funny satire about culture clash, the media, fame, hypocrisy and a lot more.

A black woman (college-educated, oh-so-serious public TV type) is filming a documentary on a three-man rap group from the streets. Calling their mean selves Niggas With Hats (NWH), they're very concerned, at least while on camera (which is all we see) with maintaining their `hood' persona.

All their managers are mysteriously shot dead while NWH are `out of town' (wink, nudge). Early on they switch from using family members as managers to employing Jewish white boys. Before the film ends, they go through six of these poor fellows.

The dialog between the group and their middle-aged Caucasian record company owner is sidesplitting. With misplaced confidence, the businessman feels compelled to speak street talk in a doomed attempt to bond with his artists. We watch the astonished faces of our rappers as they listen to his ludicrous slang, which dates back to Malcolm X's time.

NWH even puts out a Christmas album called `Ho, Ho, Ho's.' A rival rap group dogs their rise to fame, each outfit trying to destroy the other. NWH finally prevails, however, when it's discovered that the opposition's lead singer went to a prep school and even edited its yearbook. His career ruined, the antagonist and his crew are banished in shame.

There's an angry Spike Lee wannabe and an opening act, Vanilla Sherbet, a bouncy white rapper who insists he was raised by a black family. The concert audiences are pimply white youth who ape the group's moves, clothing and speech mannerisms and for whom the rappers can barely disguise their utter contempt.

Relating these details in no way spoils the fun, for it's the telling of the tale and the facial expressions of those to whom all of this happens that make the movie.

No matter what your age or background, you'll be howling out loud through many parts of this parody. See it soon.
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A hilarious spoof of hip-hop culture
mark-lawrence26 September 2003
Fear of a black hat is a hilarious spoof of Hip-Hop culture. It is just as funny as This Is Spinal Tap, if not funnier. The actors are incredible and the documentary style is superb. Mark Christopher Lawrence is a tremendous talent that should be starring in a lot more films. This film is a true cult classic!
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Funny Funny Funny
grassroots137 July 2003
I first saw this movie about 4 years ago and i was expecting something funny, similar to CB4. I was blown away. I was on the floor laughing my butt off this movie is so great. Way better than CB4, the characters, the songs, the plot, everything. Top notch independent film that was given "Two Thumbs UP" by Siskel and Egbert (and if two old white guys can understand the humour in this flick, you know it's good).
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A great piece of work
bgdojo421 June 2003
Having seen both "Fear of a Black Hat" and "This is Spinal Tap", I can honestly state that while similar, both movies are truly must see. There will be many times in "Fear" that will have you in hysterics. It is no wonder why both movies have such a huge cult following. "Fear" will soon be available on DVD. Rent it if you must, but the only way to fully enjoy this movie is to have it for yourself.
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