Wednesday, August 4, 2010

'Cause We Comin' From Queens and Gets Down

Today's entry isn't an InstaRapFlix entry, 'cause this movie isn't available on Netflix, for stream or otherwise. In fact, the DVD never saw a proper release in the US. But where does all the good US hip-hop go when you it doesn't even come out in the US? You guess it - Japan! Tragedy: The Story of Queensbridge has a proper DVD release out there and can be easily secured by any fan able to negotiate 8)

This is a great, raw documentary of Tragedy and the whole QB scene. There's long and deep interviews with Tragedy, much of which were filmed while he's in prison. There are also interviews with practically everybody relevant in the QB scene: Havoc, Capone, Marley Marl, Blaq Poet, Killa Sha (RIP), NORE, plus a lot of the lesser known heads as well. Trag's step-parents are given a lot of time, too; and this was clearly shot over a lot of time and locations, giving us a tour of all QB and some great, candid moments that unfold in front of the camera. At 74 minutes, it's a little short (a little more time spent on The Super Kids records, his time at A&M and some other periods would have been nice), but it does keep things moving at a brisk, content-packed pace. The scene is really laid bare with one open, honest and often gun-toting moment after another.

There are a few flaws... the narration is melodramatic and corny. But thankfully, that's relegated to the slightly embarrassing precredits sequence and the conclusion; so the bulk of the film is narration-free. And the other issue is the cheesy reenactments. Having Trag's voice laid over some real childhood photos would have been a lot more effective than some questionable actors playing his heroin-shooting mother and childhood friends. But fortunately, those are kept to very short clips (the filmmakers must've seen how dubious these were in the editing stage)... but again, a few, real photos would have gone a long way.

But really, these complaints are small compared to everything that's good about this film. This is a must-see for fans of Trag and the Queensbridge scene, and a worthwhile watch even for those who aren't. The DVD has some nice but brief extras, including an excellent segment on Trag's best friend and inspiration, Killa Black (RIP), a great interview Trag on the making of "T.O.N.Y.," an amusing segment on the origin of the term "dunn," plus music videos for "LA, LA" and "T.O.N.Y." So if you want something a little more legit (and better, what with the extras) than a stream or torrent to watch, know that there is a proper DVD option. And, yes, the Japanese subtitles are optional (removable). :)

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