If you haven’t heard by now, May 11 will see the premier of the new film from executive producers Queen Latifa and Bruce Willis entitled The Hip Hop Project. The film follows the path of Hip Hop artist and mentor Kazi and his students, as he guides them in a positive direction using Hip Hop as the vehicle.
The New York premier screening went down April 30th in Manhattan and was hosted by Q-Tip. With so many turning out for the film that they had to open a second theater to accommodate the patrons. The audience included mostly industry and media along with several celebrities; Busta Rhymes, Dougie Fresh and Bruce Willis to name a few.
This is a Hip Hop film I can get behind and comes at a good time. With the Don Imus situation and Hip Hop increasingly coming under fire for the negativity and violence it portrays The Hip Hop Project is a much needed cavalry in the battle against those that are lobbing shells at the whole of Hip Hop. The film shows a potential and strength in Hip Hop that artists like myself and others have been discussing in small groups and rants amongst ourselves since the corporate takeover, dumbing down, and over commercialization of the art form. Michelle, president of PR firm Audible Treats, commented “The movie gave another perspective to the “positive hip hop” debate and proved that rapping about personal experiences, good or bad, will never be corny, contrary to what most people think.”
The films tag line challenges you to think “If you had the whole world listening, what would you say?” That question puts a lot of responsibility on the person standing before the mic about to open their mouth. It’s a question that someone should have posed to Cam’ron and M-1 before their recent media appearances.
Originally given an “R” rating for language, the content of the film won over the MPAA with it’s content and message prompting them to reduce it to PG-13 stating that the film is “too important to turn kids away”.
After the screening of the movie, the cast fielded questions and comments from the audience in addition to a performance by the star of the film, Kazi. One major label music executive stood up and commented that other label executives should watch the film and learn from it’s lessons regarding Hip Hop music and culture.
A Hip Hop Project film was created by director by Matt Ruskin and producer Scott K. Rosenberg and shot over a period of 4 years. The Hip Hop Project is not only the title of the film but also the name of the outreach program that the film documented and is now headed by one of the former students of the film.