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Thursday, October 11, 2007

6 Classic Rap Flicks

Here's my list of some of the best Hip-Hop themed or based DVD's. Two things to note here are:

1) I've never watched "Boys N The Hood" or "Juice" all the way through, so they aren't part of this list (not saying they're bad movies).

2) There's a documentary/concert flick included because it's a great one to check out if you're a fan of Jay-Z and want to see a great behind the scenes film.

6 classic hip-hop DVD's to watch and own:

Beat Street
Beat Street - Take it back to the old school here with an early hip hop flick providing an up-close look at the culture including DJing, beatboxing, graffiti and breakdancing as the foundation of early hip hop. It provides the story of up-and-coming DJ Kenny (Guy Davis) and his relationship with jazz musician Tracy (Rae Dawn Chong) as well as a look at graffiti artist Ramon. Also features the likes of hip-hop's most influential early names--Melle Mel, Doug E Fresh, Kool Moe Dee, the Rocksteady Crew, Jazzy Jeff, and Arthur Baker.

Belly DVD
Belly, Special Edition, Version 2 - Directed by music video superstar director, Hype Williams and featuring rappers Nas, DMX and Method Man as well as T-Boz of R&B group TLC. The movie features the tale of Tommy Brown and Sincere, two men who have made a life out of drug deals and armed robberies. Despite the wealth and good lifestyles, the two decide it's a dead end for them to continue this way and have spiritual awakenings. Features stunning and stylish visuals along with scenes of gritty violence.

Hustle and Flow DVD
Hustle & Flow (Widescreen Edition) - A newcomer to the list which recently earned an Oscar Award, but not for its standout acting performances. Instead, this movie received the "Best Song in a Movie" award which went to 3-6 Mafia for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp". And that's the premise of the movie, a pimp, Djay played by Terrance Howard, struggles to use his musical creativity so that he can gain success as a rap star and create a better life for himself and those he needs to support. Also features rapper Ludacris, comedic actor Anthony Anderson and DJ Qualls (Road Trip & The New Kid).

Fade to Black DVD
Jay Z - Fade to Black - A highly entertaining concert/documentary about Jay-Z's album of the same title. It has a real "Carlito's Way" style to it with Jay-Z's narration about making his latest CD come together. While the album was originally considered to be Jigga's last, he has since returned. This movie spotlights the big finale concert he gave at Madison Square Garden, featuring many other rappers, producers and celebs. The added bonus is seeing an inside look at how Jay-Z crafted the whole album working with producers such as Kanye West, Rick Reuben, Timbaland and Just Blaze.

Menace II Society DVD
Menace II Society - A classic film brought to us by the Hughes Brothers directing duo, which many say emulates Boyz N the Hood. It features the tale of a young man, Caine, trying to rebuild his life despite being caught up in a dangerous and detrimental environment involving street gangs, drugs, revenge and shootings in his neighborhood in Watts. Features two up and coming acting stars of the time, Larenz Tate as O-Dog, and Jada Pinkett as Ronnie.

New Jack City DVD
New Jack City (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Classic movie which looks into the gritty and dangerous underground world of cocaine dealing and how it impacts communities, families and individuals. Features an arrogant, powerful and ruthless drug lord, Nino Brown, played by Wesley Snipes. Also features an early appearance by comedian Chris Rock. In this one, ironically, the rapper who created the controversial song "Cop Killer", Ice-T takes the role of a detective himself. Classic movie worth seeing and owning in your collection as it has been criticized and praised by many since the early 90's.

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