HipHop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes (2006)

As a hip hop fan I’ve been listening to it for years and enjoy the music, but I always have this double feeling when listening to it. It’s not the kind of music you can play any time of the day, because of the extreme lyrics. Would you play it in front of your kids? I won’t because most of them are really unacceptable. They are usually not respectful to others, have a steady stream of curses, lots of violence and an image which I really don’t like. So it’s a bit of a love/hate relationship and generally I listen to it by myself. Byron Hurt had that same feeling and decided to dig deeper into the cause of this and ask why rappers feel like they have to show their superiority and masculinity.

Hurt looks at these issues in detail and talks to both experts, but also rappers like Fat Joe, Mos Def, Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli and Chuck D. He does so in detail and looks at various issues concerning hiphop. He is also not afraid to ask difficult questions. I was shocked when I saw Busta Rhymes and Mos Def respond when Hurt asked them if there would ever be a succesful gay rapper. They basically dodged the question and immediately left the room. I would have expected them to answer in a normal way. He looks at the industry itself as well as he talks to a programmer from BET (one of the biggest networks for hip hop) asking him why only specific type of videos are shown, but also talks to rappers who tell him that they don’t have a chance of getting a contract if they talk something different than guns, violence and women. It’s sad to see that this won’t change any time soon.

If you listen to hip hop or want to better understand why it is so violent, this documentary does answer the questions you might have. Byron Hurt manages to exactly hit the nerves of hip hop, it’s amazing to see that some people aren’t always willing to answer and have a normal conversation, afraid of being thought of as soft. It’s a sad state of affairs, which in my opinion can have a bad influence on society. Documentaries like these shows the culture a mirror, which is necessary.

Score: 9

Trailer (quality isn’t too great unfortunately):

8 thoughts on “HipHop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes (2006)

  1. I saw this one last year. I marked it down for precisely the same reasons you marked it high, which is interesting. You accept this film as a mirror, I reject the reflection. 🙂

    • So if I understand you correctly this documentary showed the negativity made you feel negative about the documentary, marking it down? I think docs like these are needed…

      • Well, this questions the whole need for ratings, of course. Is a film marked highly because it’s good, or because it’s enjoyable? They’re not the same, I’m sure you’d agree. I don’t like ratings at all, and do it through gritted teeth.

        • Yes it does, I mainly rate them based on how much I enjoyed them, which often ties in with a good movie. I agree these are not the same though. I don’t mind rating them or other people rating movies as long as I know if their tastes are similar to mine. Then I know which ones I will enjoy as well…

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