I’m really looking forward to this DVD being released later this month: “Freestyle – The Art of Rhyme” (You can watch the trailer on that site.) The film has taken a gang of awards at various film festivals, so it shouldn’t disappoint.
Explosively documenting the story of a group of underground hip-hop MCs & DJs from the early 1980’s to the present day, Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme is a film that explores the world of improvisational rap – the rarely recorded art form of rhyming spontaneously, or “off the top of the head.” Made over the course of more than seven years, mostly with borrowed or stolen cameras by a co-operative of students, b-boys, DJs, and MCs know as The Center for Hip-Hop Education, Freestyle takes the viewer on a journey through the previously unexamined dimensions of hip-hop as a spiritual and community based art form.
Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme, experimental in its nature as improvisational cinema: no showing of the film is ever the same experience, combining the best of independent art house cinema within the hip-hop mix tape format. The project features appearances by: Supernatural, Mos Def, Black Thought & ?uestlove of the Roots, Freestyle Fellowship, Lord Finesse, Cut Chemist, Craig G, Juice, DJ Kool Herc, Boots of the Coup, Medusa, Planet Asia, Sway, Crazy Legs, Jurasic-5, Wordsworth, Bobitto Garcia, and The Last Poets. Freestyle offers us a context in which to view living art as a social critique in story and rhyme that is designed to bring about a cathartic transformation of frustration into beauty.
Freestyle follows some of the best MC’s ever to bless the mic, featuring legendary battles including those of the film’s hero; Supernatural pitted against his arch nemesis Craig G providing the through line for this tale. As these artists improvise poetry out of a mix of language, politics and culture that make up their lives, we discover revolutionary worlds where the English language is subverted and re-appropriated as a tool of economic and social empowerment.[read the rest…]