Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Hip Hop Project (Review)
















...The Hip Hop Project is a documentary that tells the story of Chris Rolle ( Kazi), an immigrant from Nassau, Bahamas who moved to NYC in his teens to be with his mother only to end up homeless on the streets of Brooklyn...after making the decision to turn his life around for the positive, he diverts his energies toward the creation of The Hip Hop Project (HHP) and selects a handful of at risk New York teenagers in an effort to put them on the right track by teaching them how to channel their life stories into works of art which they can use to lift themselves up both creatively and emotionally...

...Having been down the same path himself, Kazi not only shows his young charges the ins and outs of the production side of the Hip Hop game, he shows them how to apply what they're doing artistically as a holistic means to heal themselves and those around them by presenting them with the ultimate goal of pooling together their resources for a collaborative album that will feature their works...

Every year or so a formulaic Hip Hop film comes out to tell the story of some fictional protagonist who defies the odds and makes it to the proverbial mountain top (or in some cases doesn't) but don't expect to see that in the Hip Hop Project because, as I learned while sitting in that screening room, there's much more to this documentary...

















Not only does the film provide an insight on why rap speaks so deeply to the young, it showcases the fact that there are Hip Hop heads out there who actually look to their music for positivity, want to share it with the world, how to set about getting that word out and how even all of the best intentions in the world doesn't mean that you'll be heard but you plow ahead anyway-- just when the money gets funny and things look like they're about to fall apart Russell Simmons, Bruce Willis and Queen Latifah step in and do Kazi et al solid (Rush donates a studio to the group while Willis and Latifah Executive Produce)...the film also chronicles Kazi's personal journey to redemption when he finally gets himself together and visits his adoptive family in the Bahamas and then his birth mother who still lives in New York...I don't know if it's my affinity for documentaries speaking or not but I really do think that this film is one to see, not only do the song-writing sessions smoke but the cast of non-actors really shine just being themselves and reveal a deeper humanity than one might imagine at first glance (check for Ty's rap/ monologue with his father during the "I'm just like you" rhyme)-- you won't expect to be touched but you will...just ask yourself: "What would you have to say if the whole world stopped to listen to you for five minutes?" Bearing all of the above in mind, note that 100% of the net profits from the film will be donated to youth organizations all over the country...now how fucking cool is that?



The Hip Hop Project opens nation wide on May 11th...

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1 Comments:

Blogger mktackabery said...

Definitely gonna catch this one, and props to the Queen and the rest for supporting the project. It is so important to get real stories out there, that's why documentaries are so precious . . . what a cool story.

5:41 AM, May 03, 2007  

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