As someone who spent years in this culture and has over thirty battles under his belt, I feel like this is the perfect film for me to review. It was great to see our wild, energetic, no-rules subculture represented as a feature film, as opposed to a documentary, and I wish I had been able to see it in the theater. But I gladly signed up for YouTube Premium just for this and it didn’t let me down!
It may disappoint some battle aficionados to see that most of the main characters are actors as opposed to battlers, but not to worry, because actual, well known battlers populate both the background and smaller battle scenes, from Loaded Lux to Hollow da Don, Pat Stay, Big T and more, including Dumbfoundead, who gets the most screen time. The two biggest league owners in North America, Smack and Organik, both have cameos. This is for battlers and fans of the culture and they will most likely love it. But that doesn’t make it inaccessible for others, as it is easily one of the best comedies of the year. For my money, it is a more enjoyable watch than 8 Mile and will hopefully make strides with the public’s perceptions of modern battle rap (if you know any battlers, every one of them will tell you about the endless comparisons of our era to that movie). It gives a window into a fascinating facet of hip hop that most people don’t understand, and breaks it down while giving the audience a good, crowd-pleasing story.
There is some cool editing and I thought it was very well lit, but none of that is the point. The point is to show that the spirit of the wild west is still alive within the hip hop community, and if you didn’t know, there are leagues in damn near every market where people gather in groups. If you’ve ever been interested in battle rap events, you need to go to one. And maybe this movie can be the thing that convinces you to give it a shot.
Normally I write haikus for these reviews but that doesnt seem appropriate this time. So since I’ve been in the culture for a while now, I’ll try adding some bars instead.
They finally made another movie about battle rap…shit, imagine that
Another nerdy white kid tryna make a black crowd believe he makes the ratchet clap
And you can think it’s foul, you’re free to throw those shots like this is Hack-A-Shaq
But even when he gets his card pulled he still makes the bodies disappear, it’s all a magic act
Savage scrap, see that ring? It ain’t a regular place, folks
All these characters just talking, but act like they got the mask and the beam, either way it’s all Space Ghost
Figure out a way to break your opponent down and put em away, it’s case closed
Rappers like the intricate shit, but fans just wanna hear personal bars and race jokes
Face foes, then put em in the dirt, that’s the name of the game
Nothing is off limits, go for the throat and stake a claim to your fame
That’s what Adam does to stack a buzz and he’s got the drive without changing his lane
Battles start to get hype when art imitates life and this movie paints it in frames