June 05, 2009

This Is The Life

I maybe don't write about music enough (and particularly hip hop) as it's probably the only thing I have any right to claim any feel for. So... The best doc I've seen for quite some time, "This Is The Life" tells the story of the Good Life cafe in Los Angeles. In the early nineties, in the aftermath of the LA Riots, and in a situation where public space was being increasingly privatised and young Black men and women had nowhere to meet, this wholefood cafe in South Central started a Thursday night hip hop slot which acted as a crucible for acts like Abstract Rude, Volume 10, Chillin Villains Empire, Jurassic Five and, most importantly, Freestyle Fellowship. It's an incredible document, fuzzy VHS footage of the nights mixed in with extensive interviews with all the key players. It reminded me how good these performers were all, how innovative, how technically sharp and daring. These were great technicians of word and rhythm, beautifully brave and idealistic people and, as such, anyone interested in the huge input into world culture emanating from the African-American diaspora should watch this film - even if they don't think they like "rap." No, especially if they don;t think they like "rap."

1 comment:

Ian D Smith said...

This is excellent. I was just moping about the demise of literate rap and Dizzie Rascal in particular. Bonkers sounds like a misguided government anti-cannabis public information campaign. It takes the form on a nose-dive into mindless white chav wilderness. The old skool late eighties / early nineties rappers now stand out as beacons.