Monday, April 03, 2006

It's Bigger Than Hip-Hop: Block Party

Again, another "non-folk" post. Sue me. I had this up on my sports blog, that's how much I liked this movie. It sure as hell fits in better here.

I have to recommend that everyone go out and see "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" as soon as possible. I am sorry; I currently have no other outlet to express my utter love of this movie. Filmed about a month after Chappelle recieved his $50 million dollar contract with Comedy Central, "Block Party" is an uplifting and hilarious attempt to recreate not only the community block party, but the major motion picture releases of iconic stand-up comedians like Richard Pryor. Not only is Chappelle at his finest, but the cast of musicians is a veritable orgy of hip-hop and R&B talent. Almost every single one of my favorite hip-hop/R&B acts perform in this movie: The Roots (whose drummer, ?uestlove, was the musical director for the movie), Mos Def, Common, Kanye West, Talib Kweli, John Legend, Jill Scott, Dead Prez, Erykah Badu, and a reunited Fugees. I suppose if you aren't a fan of hip-hop this might not be your cup of tea, but I think the music, enthusiasm and sense of community will transcend personal tastes. Personally, my only complaint was that the movie ended. I wanted these artists--and it is very clear from watching this movie that these people take their art very seriously--to perform forever. Seeing and hearing the Central State University marching band belt out Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" (I am dying for an audio file of this one), Erykah Badu and Jill Scott interweave their heavenly voices on "You Got Me", Mos Def and Chappelle work the crowd like Martin and Lewis, Dead Prez drop the beat for some serious science on "Hip Hop", along with a still-fragile Lauryn Hill bringing tears to people's eyes with "Killing Me Softly", made my heart soar. It's too bad that Chappelle has disappeared from the pop-culture scene, but he can be damn proud of this movie. I am sure to watch it about another hundred times, and I hope you find the time to check it out, too.


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