Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes | Chicago Reader

Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

This 2006 video documentary by first-time director Byron Hurt, who bills himself as an “anti-sexist activist,” examines the exaggerated masculinity of commercial hip-hop—the homophobia, degradation of women, and extreme violence that are all but expected in the music. Lucid talking-head interviews with a host of rappers, impresarios, and academics offer no true revelations, but the intransigence of those invested in the industry illuminates a depressing systemic denial, especially when white men in suits ultimately control the business. As rappers like Busta Rhymes and Jadakiss freely admit that their hardness is just a pose for the sake of entertainment, they blanch at taking responsibility for the misguided models they propagate. Hurt's argument is hardly fresh, but his presentation is engaging and clear minded. 62 min.

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