Hip Hop Movies.
I began a conversation over the radio last week with with a co-host of a HipHop radio program called “HipHop Drop”. My co-host and I were talking about movies about or with rap music themes we’d name as our faves. I says to Tek, my co-host, “there’s so many good ones, I need to think about this and make a top 10 or top 5.”
Because it’s true. Think about how many rap movies you’ve watched over the years. And if you’re like me, you’ve probably sat through many low budget, bad acted, what’s the point of this shit? style of movies. The straight to DVD independent flicks. But in all honesty, some of those are the most fun to watch. It’s actually my goal to make a movie that could very well end up being perceived as just that movie! So I’m not hating one bit.
Ok, here’s my list. And let’s be real, there’s gotta be a few I forgot and I’m more than certain my mind will change very soon.
This ended up being a bigger challenge than I’d first anticipated. What makes a movie a “rap” or “HipHop” movie? Is it the theme or plot? The actors themselves being rap artists?
I’m not all the way certain, but here it goes anyway. Again, this convo is for sure up for debate and I’ll have no shame admitting I may have totally forgot a few classics. My list could be swayed at any time.
10. Rhyme & Reason
Almost like a reality tv-show. Only, really reality. The footage from the Jack The Rapper convention was classic! Like Youtube style stuff, but way before Youtube! I loved the raw and real feel this movie had. Heavy D was a real person. A good dude. I would have never known if it weren’t for Rhyme & Reason. Biggie Smalls, before he was the legend, Luniz, Puff Daddy! The Puffy footage of this film makes it worth watching. Overall, a great watch.
A film from the early 80’s that taught a kid from a reservation in Washington state all about the real roots of rap, breaking and graffiti. I didn’t quite understand the importance of this film when I was about 15 and first saw it. I didn’t get what it was back then. Now that I do, I appreciate it so much.
8. I’m Bout It
Master P. Hate him, love him, respect him. Either way, he was a groundbreaking artist. Who would have thought you could be an average rapper and perhaps less than average actor and writer and still make a movie?! The marketing itself for this film was awesome! “Banned From Theaters” they said! I loved it. As raw as raw could get. Until hundreds of indie rap movies followed for the next 15 + years.
7. Treal TV
Mac Dre could have and should have, wait, would have been a really awesome actor! The man never got the chance to show the world just how incredible of a talent he was. Treal TV was a glimpse into the man’s humor, wit, talent and life. Must-have for Mac Dre fans, but those unfamiliar with Thizz Ent will still enjoy this look at the Bay Area legend.
Does this one qualify as a “rap” movie? The acting was so believable. By that I mean I really believed each character was the role they played in real life. I was hooked since the first time I saw it sometime in the 90’s. And it’s not just Tupac. Every actor played their roles to perfection. Memorable from start to finish. A great movie.
5. Krush Groove
Like Wildstyle, history. That’s what I think of when watching Krush Groove. LL Cool J, Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow, Run DMC. Some of the artists who helped pioneer an entire genre feature in this film and try their hand at real acting roles. Run from Run DMC does a solid job. I mean, it’s not the greatest acting skills but it’s just the fact that Russell Simmons and Def Jam knew what they were doing by making a rap movie right at the time they were first poppin’. They didn’t wait and tell their story 20 or 30 years later, they told it then. The Fat Boys steal the show! Classic!!
4. House Party
Remember being around 11 or 12 and thinking this was the funniest and coolest movie ever? Me too. Clever and a little corny, but not to the point of being bad. I loved the pace and antics Kid and Play got themselves into. Many sequels and a spin off, “Class Act”, helped make sure generations of new fans will continue to enjoy the House Party movies forever. Oh, and Martin Lawrence was hilarious in this one as well.
3. Hustle & Flow
Pimpin, hustlin’, rappin. I’ve been a fan of Down South Rap for a long time. I enjoyed this one. It can be a little predictable or phony at times. I can admit that. Terrence Howard does a good job of selling the role. It just had something that stuck with me more than others. I’m not sure what it was. Ludacris did great job as well.
When Nas and DMX were on top of their game! I wasn’t ever a huge fan of DMX. Or Nas at that time. But this movie captured the two right at the peak of their careers. I liked how Nas’ character would get real deep and philosophise his life and the stuff he went through. The color and music made it very memorable. I never was a fan of New York music at the time of this movie but I really liked this one.
- Tupac: Thug Life- Thug Angel
2Pac is my favorite artist of all time. So I guess it makes sense to love this movie so much. Remember the time it seemed like many were trying to capitalize on 2Pac’s death with documentaries and music that just didn’t come close to capturing the man who many, I mean millions, considered their favorite artist ever? So when this one came out, it was like “oh great, another bad 2pac movie”.
But once you got to watch it, it felt like the best documentary on the man ever made. I know the MTV movie Resurrection was edited to actually be narrated by Pac himself, and was endorsed by Pac’s mother, but this Thug Angel seemed to have the most authenticity to it. It’s the best movie on 2Pac I’ve ever seen.
In conclusion, I know there are great movies I left out. 8 Mile, Notorious, etc. But for whatever reason, I just never really got into those ones. In all honesty, I’ve only watched Notorious once in my life. 8 Mile was awesome, but I didn’t really get too into that one either. And it’s not because I don’t like Eminem. He’s an incredible talent.
Anyway, I’m sure this topic is one worth revisiting in the future.