Rhyme & Reason

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • R
  • Documentary, Musical

Director Peter Spirer's look at the paradoxical world of hip-hop sidesteps the sensationalism and moral posturing of the music's detractors, but while the result succeeds as a cultural snapshot, it fails as a polemic. And while the film does little to dispel the argument against gangsta rap -- that it glorifies extreme violence and misogyny -- it does manage...read more

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Director Peter Spirer's look at the paradoxical world of hip-hop sidesteps the sensationalism and moral posturing of the music's detractors, but while the result succeeds as a cultural snapshot, it fails as a polemic. And while the film does little to dispel the

argument against gangsta rap -- that it glorifies extreme violence and misogyny -- it does manage to suggest that most of what underlies the aggressive lyrics is pure, playful bombast. The interviewees, a mix of DJs, rappers and producers, are generally unabashed advocates, defending rap on one

of two well-worn fronts: constitutional (oppressed African-Americans express themselves) and economic (music as a way out of the ghetto underclass), with the emphasis on the latter. Given the hyperbole-driven nature of hip-hop, its makers aren't always the most reliable narrators. But elder

statesmen KRS-ONE, Ice T, Chuck D, Kurtis Blow and Dr. Dre conduct an insightful discussion of hip-hop's roots as a guerrilla art form: It's a shame they don't get more screen time. Members of Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Redman and Pharcyde deliver entertaining bits of commentary and

extemporaneous freestyle rapping.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Director Peter Spirer's look at the paradoxical world of hip-hop sidesteps the sensationalism and moral posturing of the music's detractors, but while the result succeeds as a cultural snapshot, it fails as a polemic. And while the film does little to disp… (more)

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