Monday, March 28, 2011

InstaRapFlix #35: Ghostride the Whip

If there's one... phase, style, fad, whatever in hip-hop that I don't know so much about, I think it's hyphy. I know of it, and I've certainly been a fan of some pre-hyphy releases by its mainstays like Mac Dre and E-40; but I've never really sunk my teeth into it. So I've decided to make my latest InstaRapFlix viewing to Ghostride the Whip (Netflix rating: 2 stars), a documentary on hyphy.

It's written and directed by DJ Vlad, who you probably best know as the Vlad of VladTV (where the Canibus/Premier beef just jumped off), and narrated by Sway of The Wake Up Show. Sway's narrattion is a bit stiff. But that's almost my only major crticiism. This movie goes deep, taking us back into the history of Oakland and Bay area rap well before hyphy. Hell, by the ten minute mark, the doc's still on The Black Panther Party and hasn't even gotten into the start of hip-hop music yet.

And this movie has everybody. Talking about the history of Oakland rap? Too $hort's there, MC Hammer, later E-40 and Mac Dre, Celly Cel, Keak da Sneak, etc etc. They've got the rights to play the appropriate hyphy songs and music videos, instead of just generic, loopy background music. There's lots of sideshow footage, and then interviews with cops about shutting them down. If you're worried you won't see anybody actually ghostriding their whips, don't worry, there's ample automobile theatrics, from vintage footage to plenty recorded just for the doc.

This doc covers the dancing, right down to the specifics moves and even diagrams the slang. It talks candidly about thizz and its effect on the scene, from stunna shades to the serious. There's some great history on Mac Dre from his early days to his legal problems with his crew and his eventual shooting, and even his wake.

It's not often I can recommend an InstaRapFlix, especially since I tend towards the obscure, which often leads to awful. But Ghostride the Whip, unexpectedly, turned out to be a really good documentary. Watch it. But don't try what you see at home.

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