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Freestyle - The Art of Rhyme [DVD]

Kevin Fitzgerald    Exempt   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 12.04 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Directors: Kevin Fitzgerald
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Wienerworld
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Mar 2014
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,180 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

From the creators of the Academy Award Nominated film "Murderball" comes the cult classic documentary that explosively explores the world of improvisational rap. This award-wining and critically acclaimed film gives an authentic look into the life, music and history of 90's underground hip hop culture & is packed with rare & archival footage of some of the most amazing MC's ever to bless the mic.

From neighbourhood ciphers to the most notorious MC battles, "Freestyle: the Art of Rhyme" captures the electrifying energy of improvisational hip-hop--the rarely recorded art form of rhyming spontaneously.

Like preachers and jazz solos, freestyles exist only in the moment, a modern-day incarnation of the African-American storytelling tradition. Shot over a period of more than seven years, it is already an underground cult film in the hip-hop world.

The film systematically debunks the false image put out by record companies that hip-hop culture is violent or money-obsessed. Instead, it lets real hip-hop artists, known and unknown, weave their story out of a passionate mix of language, politics, and spirituality.

Featuring: Mos Def, Black Thought, Questlove, Cut Chemist, DJ Numark, Chali Tuna, MC Supernatural, Craig G, MC Juice, Planet Asia, Lord Finesse, Wordsworth, Boots Riley and more!

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential if you like this sort of thing 19 April 2007
By Joel
I was a little bit reluctant to get this DVD - the theme, and the list of artists on the case looked awesome, but I had no knowledge of it and hadn't heard or read anything about it. However, my reluctancy was completely unnecessary as I found it very enjoyable and engaging, and therefore I urge you to check it out too, if you're at all interested in easy-going hip-hop culture.

The first awesome thing about this DVD is the collection of rare footage implemented. The film-makers clearly spent a long time tracking down the right footage to do justice to the subjects, and so you get to witness some truly stellar freestyle rapping, such as a 17 year old Notorious BIG absolutely tearing apart a bespectacled opponent on the streets of New York, Craig G managing to out-rap Supernatural and get a whole venue chanting his name (and Supernatural later showing up at a Lyricist Lounge club night and provoking Round Two), the beyond-incredible Juice showing off his freestyle skills, and much much much more besides.

The second thing that makes this worth a watch is the sheer range of artists included. Some artists pop up and say a word or two (like Chali 2na from Jurassic 5), whereas others such as Supernatural are featured more regularly, but anyone with a wide knowledge of Hip-Hop (the real old school kind, not 50 Cent and the modern drivel) will constantly be engaged in this film due to just how many different respected faces are included.

The third reason i recommend this film is the general feel of it. It effortlessly captures the bouncy, upbeat, cheerful feel of all the best rap songs and of Hip Hop culture as a whole, so it's not just engaging but also a good feel-good film.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars COULDVE BEEN ALOT BETTER 24 May 2005
By mr tubby - Published on
I thought this documentary was alright. It wasnt really mindblowing and at times got to be really slow. For people who have never seen some one freestyle or have only seen eight mile, then this is a movie to watch. But for me this movie could have been made alot better. I thought there was too much footage of Supernat. It seems after 30 mins this becomes a doc on Supernat. Supernat is fresh but there are tons of mcs out there that kevin could have shown.

I think there was too much coverage on the east. The east is fresh but something that I would have rather seen is maybe interviews on the old school like KRS, Rakim, MC Shan, Nas or some other mcs known for being tested on the mic and servin. Mos def was cool but he was not impressive to me. The lyricist lounge mcs were not too impressive either. I also did not like that dude singing in the subway wtf is that about.

What I did like was the footage of Black Thought with Questlove rhymin about whatever is around him. I liked that acapella that peace did. PEACE is one of the best freestylers that I have ever seen and to only show that footage was disappointing. The bigge footage was good also. Seeing otherwize battle other mcs was also good to see. Ive seen otherwize take out many including eminem.

What i wanted to see was more of the west coast because from my knowledge Freestyle Fellowship were some of the best mcs to ever come out. They changed the whole hip hop scene with their flows. The footage of the fellowship was cool but I have seen Micah 9 come off way better than he did on that film. I also know that Kevin has footage from the goodlife days and project blowed. I dont know why footage was not used but seeing fellowship back in da days was just amazing and I wished that was shared within the film. I would have also wanted to hear about more battling not just supernat vs juice but others. Why wasnt the hobo vs hiero battle put up on the site? That was one of the most talked about battles at that time. What about the Hiero vs Freestyle fellowship battle where hiero lost so Casual had to wear a fellowship shirt on their next video. What about Saafir or Del? These were some fresh MCs at their time. Or what about gift of gab, lateef, and lyrics born. These are mcs that are great.

The reason why I thought this movie could have been better was because Kevin knows about these mcs. He knows what these mcs have done for the art of mcing and also has footage of these mcs.

Overall i think people should buy this dvd because even though it could have been better you still can see a glimpse of what are truly great mcs which are Freestyle Fellowship, Pharoah Monch, Black Thought, Juice, and Supernat.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Hip-Hop Documentary 2 Jun 2005
By Dorrie Wheeler - Published on
This is a really excellent film and it is no suprise to me that it has won so many awards are various film festivals. The film is about "freestyle." Freestyle is a form of rap music that comes from the top of the MC's head. A freestyle is not a written rap. The MC that "fronts" a written rap as a freestyle loses much respect. The film maker has amassed a great deal of archive and olf footage of hip-hop legends like Cool Herc and Run DMC to name a few. The film is really about the underground culture. Unless you are deep into underground hip-hop, you are not going to recognize a lot of the rappers in this film. I can't say enough about this film. It explores the various aspects of the freestyle art form--including "the battle." The battle is when the MC's go at it in a freestyle battle. They can say some really confrontational things, but it's all about the rhyme. Women rappers are also well represented in this film. Bahamadia appears in the film as does rapper Medusa. All hip-hop lovers should check out this film. Between the live performances and the interviews, you will know about the freestyle culture by the time you finish watching this film. It digs deep into the rawness of hip-hop and rhyme. No bling bling, video chicks and or Bently's, just cats freestyling.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great document. A must have for anyone interested in rhyming 11 May 2005
By Benjamin Morgan - Published on
I saw this film in Portland at the hip-hop film festival. It's really amazing. Some of the ftg is phenomenal: Biggie eating some kid alive in a street-corner cypher. Mos Def flowing from the dome for DAYS. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I heard through the grapevine that VH1 is going to be showing the film as well. These guys have busted their asses in true hip-hop/DIY style to get this film made and out to the public. It has been well worth the effort!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There is a good reason why this documentary won so many awards 21 Oct 2005
By DJ I DA I - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
One of the things about this documentary, that separates it from any that I have seen, is that it acknowledges that Hip Hop is just another extention of the artistic expression of African people in the United States. This is best stated by Eluard Burt II in the first minutes of the documentary by saying "Rap is just a stem, a part of the branch, of what we are all about..." The Oral Tradition and the use of the word is a part of the historical legacy of African people. With the commericialization of the artform, far too many are learning the culture from corporations rather than from the culprits.

Hip Hop came from the streets. The record companies created rap. What this documentary does is goes back to the streets and finds those unknown artist who aren't doing this for money, but for the love. They capture some of the energy that has brought many people through the oppressive conditions of the inner cities of America. That is the purest expression that you can get.

Though the documentary focuses on freestyling, it also explains briefly how it all started with DJ Kool Herc. Any Hip Hop documentary that doesn't address Herc, is incomplete. Being a native New Yorker, I lived the birth of the artform and watched how the originators of the this multi billion dollar industry don't even get paid... attention.

There is no way you can do a documentary about freestyling without including Supernatural and Craig G. They were without question, two of the best freestylers of all time and could hold their own now (Graig G wrote the battle rhymes for Eminiem's opponents in 8 Mile). Their Battle is nothing short of monumental. That is the Ali vs Frazier of hip hop.

What I appreciate is that he goes from east coast to west coast and addresses how both coast contributed to each others growth. Something rarely mentioned. Unfortunately this has been tainted by the media's creation of the east west coast beef.

What I didn't expect was that it it bypasses the violence that is too often associated with Hip Hop. Because in all honesty, the glorification of violence is tied to "rap" and record sales. Not the culture of Hip Hop. What you hear in most of the freestyles is social commentary, intellectual wordplay, storytelling, braggadocia, etc... the basis of what hip hop use to be.

All in all, this is a great illustration of what hip hop was and still is, but is often unseen and unheard. If your addicted to radio, MTV, BET, ETC... just understand, this isn't about the polished studio artist. If your not, this may be just what you have been waiting for. Something Raw. 4.5 Stars
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched, comprehensive documentary on an aspect of Hip-Hop culture 15 Dec 2007
By Badr - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There are very few documentaries that compare to this one, and certainly one of the two (the other being 5 Sides of a Coin) that truley go indept into the art and purpose of this aspect in hip hop culture, remain visually and audio stimulating and keep all the excess jargon and rubbish out.

Interviews with some of Hip Hops most prolific and controversial members, both in mainstream and street/underground infamy show the more innocent, raw side of freestyling which is seldom seen. Moments such as interviews with supernatural, Otherwise and Craig G are examples of this.

I would probably suggest this for school teachers and parents who didnt get the chance to really grow up with hip hop or rap as such a pragmatic part of their lives and see where the roots of it come from, and to be able to distinguish the difference between freestyling in its truest form, and the commercial bullsh*it that comes out of corporate record labels.

Check the other doco i've listed for an overall view of hip hop as a culture, and not just simply a genre of music---> 5 Sides of a Coin
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