Rating: Not Rated
Planet Asia as Himself
The Notorious B.I.G. as Himself (archive footage)
Boots as Himself
Akim Funk Buddah as Himself
Eluard Burt as Himself
Mos Def as Himself
Kirby Dominant as Himself
Eminem as Himself (archive footage)
Freestyle Fellowship as Themselves
Lord Finesse as Himself
Craig G as Himself
Jurassic 5 as Themselves (archive footage)
The Last Poets as Themselves
Crazy Legs as Himself
The Lyricist Lounge as Themselves
Medusa as Herself
Otherwize as Himself
Tupac Shakur as Himself (archive footage)
Divine Styler as Himself
Supernatural as Himself
Sway as Himself
Ahmir-Khalib Thompson as Himself (archive footage)
Tariq Trotter as Himself (archive footage)
Wordsworth as Himself
Additional Interviews and Footage
Director’s Commentary Track
Dolby Digital Sound
Running Time: 75 Minutes
The following is the description from the DVD cover:
“Freestyle- The Art of Rhyme explosively documents the world of improvisational Hip-Hop, providing an authentic look into the life, music and history of this underground culture. Packed with rare and archival footage of some of the most amazing hip-hop MC’s ever to bless the mic!”
Freestyle The Art of Rhyme is not rated, but the language in it definitely rates an R.
Unless you really enjoy hip-hop or rap, stay far away from Freestyle The Art of Rhyme. I like to think that I have pretty broad musical tastes, but rap and hip-hop are something that I usually don’t care for. Because of that, I really didn’t enjoy this movie at all. In fact, after the opening credits rolled, I wanted to turn the movie off about 3 minutes into it. Seeing guys on the street making rhymes out of profanities and whatever random thought enters their minds is not really appealing to me. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all that this movie is.
Freestyle did get interesting at one point for me as they investigated the origins of the art form. They mention freestyle poetry, the rhythms that go with the lyrics, and more. I found it particularly interesting that they credited preachers and their style of delivering sermons with some of the inspiration for rap. The movie also showed the intense competitions between the freestyle enthusiasts and harassment by the cops when they get together. In short, everything but the music itself was interesting to me.
Despite knowing nothing about hip-hop and rap, I recognized two or three of the rappers featured in the movie. Mos Def, from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, is briefly shown in his natural environment. The Notorious B.I.G. is also shown as a 17 year old rapping on the street in some old footage. Tupac Shakur, Eminem, and others are also briefly shown here and there.
If you’re a fan of rap, hip-hop, or music history, then this is must-see viewing for you. But if you don’t have any interest in those subjects (like myself), then this is one you’ll want to avoid.
As you can see listed above, there are quite a few bonus features included on this DVD. There are deleted scenes, additional interviews, and exclusive freestyles. But to be quite honest, it’s just more of the same of what’s in the film itself. It’s 45 minutes more of what you’ve already seen. So if you liked to movie, you’ll enjoy the bonus features. A director’s commentary is also included.
The Bottom Line:
Freestyle The Art of Rhyme is for rap, hip-hop, and music history lovers only. Everyone else should just avoid this one.