The DVD Diary II
by Adam Bernard
For this installment of The DVD Diary we'll be taking a look at two Hip-Hop classics, Style Wars and New Jack City, along with one classic artist's latest offering, Fat Lip's The Loneliest Punk.
Style Wars, for nearly every country other than America, marked the arrival of Hip-Hop. It was the majority of the world's introduction to the culture and is just as powerful today as it was when it first came out. The documentary on its own is a must have, so the fact that they threw in an entire second disc of extras is simply icing on the cake. The interviews with the producers and editors are nice, especially when they get to talking about the music in the film, but the real highlights of the extras are the updated interviews with the people from the film. Through these interviews we get to find out what graffers like Cap, Iz The Wiz, Seen and Dez are up to now (hint: one of them is now known as DJ Kay Slay), and what kind of affect being in the film had on their lives. If you love Hip-Hop Style Wars is a requirement for your collection anyways, so the fact that they're giving you all these extras should be enough to make any fan salivate.
Moving from the 80's to the 90's, New Jack City brought the gangster genre of films to the Hip-Hop world with the fictional tale of crack kingpin Nino Brown. The movie as a whole holds up pretty well, though some of the slang early on in the movie may make viewers crack a smile or two. The second disc of extras, however, is what makes this DVD worth your while. The in depth documentary on the making of the film is impressive and illustrates how passionate Mario Van Peebles was about the creation of the film. Overall, Peebles comes off as someone who probably deserves more credit in Hollywood than he actually gets. Also in the documentary, Wesley Snipes gets a tremendous amount of credit as being THE guy everyone wanted to play the role of Nino Brown and Ice-T comes off as extremely humble. Chris Rock has one of the best stories in the documentary because, apparently, drug dealers took his role a little too seriously. He says that he can't walk down a street anymore without a dealer going "hey Pookie" and attempting to slip him some drugs. The second disc of extras makes the special edition of New Jack City a worthy addition to your collection.
Last, but not least, we have Fat Lip's The Loneliest Punk. TLP documents Fat Lip's current attempt to go solo, but also goes back into his history as he explains his time with The Pharcyde, why he left, and why he felt he never completely understood Hip-Hop while he was with the group. In a rare moment of complete honesty Fat Lip openly admits he was completely off base when it came to his views on Hip-Hop and only now understands what his former band mates were attempting to do with The Pharcyde. The two music videos are also a nice addition, especially the animated "Here Comes The Lip," which is something inventive and different, two words rarely used to describe Hip-Hop in 2005. Fans of The Pharcyde will want to pick this up.
Style Wars: A
New Jack City (SE): B+
Fat Lip's The Loneliest Punk: B