Hip Hop Street Credentials, Vol. 1 (DVD)

Artist: DVD ReviewTitle: Hip Hop Street Credentials, Vol. 1 (DVD)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jason Hortillas

Hip-Hop documentaries are now as common as half naked women in music videos. To the dismay of fans of the clothing impaired, Insomniac Inc. puts out a film that takes another route from typical movie making. Shining light on artists that wouldn’t typically be featured on film, Hip-Hop Street Credentials (DVD/Insomniac Inc.) brings you into the world of Hip-Hop’s unsung heroes who do not get as much airtime as their commercial counterparts.

Narrated by Insomniac Inc. head Israel “Iz-Real” Vasquetelle, the documentary is more like a series of interviews giving artist insight on varied topics such as out of the trunk music selling and the emphasis on music over marketing. Features include Kool Keith, Aesop Rock and Kutmaster Kurt, amongst many others. As the title suggests, the film is at its most raw when allowing the viewer to see these interviews uncut. The option to see these interviews in cinematic format is available as well.

Each one of the artists have a particular characteristic that make them original- Immortal Technique and his brash political commentary, Pee Wee Kirkland regurgitating old lessons he now teaches to the youth, or Saul Williams’ view on the differences between spoken word artists and MCs. Each feature is totally different from the next- producer, poet, battle emcee and the list goes on. With over three hours of footage, all the material is hard to soak into the brain in one sitting. Both the Saul Williams and Immortal Technique interviews are the most provocative, ultimately making the film what it is.