Sunday, February 22, 2009

InstaRapFlix 17: Grind: Hip Hop 101

I confess. I picked this one solely because it's short. Grind: Hip Hop 101 (Netflix rating: 1.5 stars) has no reviews on reviews/comments on Netflix, and the cover isn't terribly forthcoming, except that it's some kind of guide to hip-hop business; but it clocks in at under an hour, so I figured "let's find out." Plus, apparently, it's the ultimate!

Well, the first 14 of this film's 56 minutes turns out to be a trailer reel of other hip-hop oriented DVDs available from this company. I guess that's your first hip-hop business lesson right there! Always be selling.

Then, after those 14 minutes, guess what? The exact same trailer REPEATS, playing 100% identically, for the next 14 minutes! Seriously, no shit. We're literally halfway through the movie, and it hasn't started yet!

So, finally, the actual film starts, with no opening credits or anything (just as well, we're down to only 28 minutes of movie!); just a series of quick sound-bites with various promotors recorded at parties (some probably drunk, the rest definitely drunk), saying a few sentences about hip-hop business. There's a huge banner constantly across the bottom third of the screen reminding us of the title of the film (GRIND) and the name of who they're talking to. And they drop nuggets like, "If you're not with me... then... I guess you must be against me!" Just to give you a real sense of this movie, I'll give you a complete transcript of one, from a guy calling himself Phil Gates*:

"Basically, the core of DJs is an organization of DJs. You know, uhm, Tony came up with the idea, basically, you know, as we build. When I got into it, it was like July of last year or so, and me and Tony just was buildin'. We kept talking and talking and talking. We got the same type of views, you know? We got these DJs that, you know, somehow or another, it became with black people where it's all about money. No matter what you do to me or what I do to you, if... if it's in the course of tryin' to get money, it's ok. If I stab you in the back, to get to you as a camera person or something? As long as it's to get money, everybody looks at it like it's cool. You know what I'm saying? Back in the day, shitting on somebody or fucking with somebody was not cool. You know what I'm saying?"

That's his whole segment (though they do come back to him later for more). Now, it's not that what the people interviewed are saying is stupid (only sometimes! haha); just that all these people are clearly put on the spot, and for the most part don't have anything to say. So they brag about their gold watch or say "hip-hop is grown into TV commercials," and then we cut away to the next guy. Some of them just say who they are and that you're watching Grind: Hip Hop 101 and that's it; they're done. Do Or Die appear just to plug their upcoming album. And, also because everybody's just being filmed on the spot at random events, it can be hard make out what they're saying, because of loud music and talking all around them.

There are a few known artists included, like David Banner, Juelz Santana and of course Juvenile, who's named on the box. But Juvenile is featured for less than a minute, and cut-off mid-sentence! Believe me, if you're getting this DVD to see any of the artists interviewed, you're gonna be disappointed.

In fact, really, I can't imagine anyone not being disappointed with this DVD. The only business lesson to take from this DVD is: you just got ripped off! Try not to get ripped off again. So, whether you wind up picking up any of the many DVDs they advertise in their 28-minute opening will show whether you learned your lesson or not.

*After some post-viewing net surfing around, I see there're a couple guys on the internet calling themselves Phil Gates, including one at and one at This guy in the movie doesn't appear to be any of those guys, however.

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