Here’s a little documentary not many of you will probaly bother to see, but I just saw it and I have to vouch for it. I know THE HIP HOP PROJECT sounds like a working title they never bothered to change, but it’s actually the name of the youth outreach program documented in the movie. This is the story of a guy in his 20s named Chris “Kazi” Rolle who finds some troubled teenagers with a talent for rapping and helps them record an album. It’s not only his way of keeping them off the streets, or giving them a voice for self expression, or even getting into their lives to be a mentor and a positive influence. It’s all of those things, but it seems like it’s also a form of redemption and self discovery for him, having been an orphan and a homeless criminal and still not having come to terms with where he came from.
Kazi lures these kids in with the promise of recording, and then he tells them the catch: you can’t talk about “money, hoes and clothes.” He wants them to talk about their lives, their problems, try to touch somebody emotionally, maybe change somebody’s life. We do see a scene of some rappers battling, insulting each other to each other’s faces, and it’s very entertaining. But Kazi is trying to get at something more sincere and from the heart. As an exercise he asks them to tell about something that has happened to them in their lives. This leads to an amazing scene where one of the kids rhymes (and I’m not clear whether he has had time to write this or if he is improvising) about his father. While he’s rhyming he starts to cry, his voice quivers, tears start pouring out. But he keeps going. I heard DMX gets tears on stage sometimes but I don’t know if he rhymes while crying. I never seen anything like it. (read the rest of this shit…)