Artisan // 1999 // 85 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // July 4th, 2003
What? They couldn't find Biz Markie?
There is something evil spreading throughout the hip-hop community. No, it is not Sean "Puffy P.Diddy No Mo' J Lo" Combs. A demonic force, which oddly is not named Lil' Romeo/Bow Wow/Kim is attacking rap artists and sticking its funky finger up their rectum (you can't make this stuff up). Or at least that's what over half of the unskilled musical misfits say happened to them at the heinous claws of Da Hip Hop Witch. Victims include a definitely doped up Mobb Deep, a rather relaxed Rah Digga, and the emotionally exasperated Eminem, AKA Marshall Mathers AKA Christopher Lowell's drinking buddy. An overweight lover, the heavy Zee, concocts a wild saga about this around the way wizardess and gets his rivals, Street Don and not Street Don, to agree to use the spellcaster story to promote their artists. And it works, as previously indefinite rappers are suddenly selling multi-millions, all on the broomstick tails of this infamous ghost ho. Adding soundscan to sales figures is a $10 million reward for anyone "catching" the cackling crack hag. So five suburban rejects from Salem decide to put their hometown witch hunting skills to the test and cash in on the promotional green stuff. They steal a car, travel to the ghetto, and immediately get their butts kicked. In the end, we learn that the witch really did/does exist and it wiles away its moments of malevolence in the body of Robert Van Winkle -- also known as Vanilla Ice! THE HORROR! THE HORROR! Wait, it all kind of actually makes sense now...
If you went out into the street with your own private Sony Handheld mini-camcorder and shot incontinent winos screaming at imaginary pixies, then came home and placed the magnetic tape in a Cuisinart and hacked it into a billion pieces, cobbled it all back together with dog spit, and added an album by The Rapping Grannies on top of the whole thing, you still couldn't come up with something as illiterate or incoherent as Da Hip Hop Witch. If you gave embryonic cells a neural networking hookup to a Palm Pilot and waited until these underdeveloped zygotes scrawled something semi-sensible across the screen using only the power of their microscopic pea brains, you still couldn't match the inane chatter and retarded repartee from the actors, rappers, and hangers-on doing their dumb Verbal Kint crap here. And even if you forgave all the street rhyme horse hockey coming out of the all star (?!?) cast as being nothing more the brilliant badass babbling of the untrained thespian and thought that the corporate kitchen sink employment drama/white urban witch hunter/incognito reporter fiascos were funktified features of what is basically a straight-ahead spook show, you'd deserve to have the rationalizing section of your skullcap scooped out with a rusty speculum. Da Hip Hop Witch is da worst movie that da world of rap has ever produced, and that's including I Got the Hook Up and The Adventures of Snow: Canadian Reggae Retard. It's obvious that guilty guider Dale Resteghini saw The Blair Witch Project (or at least heard about it), felt that its homemade horror hype was just the ticket to promote a gaggle of heretofore unknown street poet entities, and borrowed its butt-cheesy conceit to concoct a 90-minute inane infomercial for nobodies. He then hoped he could sabotage a few big names to lend a line or two for added re-sale value. And thanks to Ja Rule, who rattles on aimlessly to the oddly edited Eminem, whose sequences recall group therapy for the TCH impaired, he gets his famous faces in all their flatulent, forced glory.
Part of the reason why Da Hip Hop Witch is so bad is that it can't keep its multiple stories lucid or linear long enough to give the audience even the remotest clue as to what is going on. Characters and cameos are arbitrarily hurled at the screen, a false frontage known as Hip Hop Witch TV frequently breaks in with artificial victim news "flashes," and all the improvisational "run ins" the cast have had with the mysterious entity are unfocused, unfunny, and unfathomable. Ja Rule, Pras, and Eminem may be gifted poets of gritty street life, but when asked to open their imaginations and riff awhile on a scary urban legend about an evil sorceress, all they can talk about is their penises, "big ol' titties," and the insertion of various and sundry objects into and near both theirs and the witch's asses. There is something within the hip-hop community that has its premier artists focusing on stank butt fingers and anal rape, but aside from some having extensive prison records, it's hard to envision what causes this sphincter fixation. It's not funny -- well, at least not how they describe it -- and it's not scary. Wait...while having any item of any type systematically inserted into your colon would be petrifying, the way it's discussed here will not have you quaking in your boots like Leatherface is at the front door with a Black and Decker love letter, C.O.D.O.A for you. You're uncomfortable with it, as you are with most of Da Hip Hop Witch. Since there is no logical progression of events to hang your hat or hopes on and the crude cameos simply seem to drone on forever, you end up with a series of vile vignettes that don't add up to anything conceivably in the vicinity of a motion picture. A pile of festering horse crap? Sure. An impossible to understand lesson in jive jibberish? Absolutely. When this sour send-up of the 1999 Burkittsville balderdash makes that film's screaming cretins look like members of the Old Vic and the movie itself a masterwork of Kurbrickian enormity, you know someone has to pay, hopefully with their artistic license.
Far be it from the critic to gloat like a well-creamed Cheshire Cat when some manner of misfortune befalls the cinematically antagonist Artisan Entertainment, but as this review was going to processor, the company quickly and quietly recalled all copies of Da Hip Hop Witch. Seems the in-it-for-a-dollar dimwits never imagined that Eminem would use his enormous financial and artistic heft to mercy kill this pig's compost. But give old Slim Shady credit. Knowing full well that any fan of his who got duped into buying this moldy mule deer would have their dollars donated to deception, he called out the most powerful force in the entertainment industry -- the lawyer -- and threatened the old tortuous take-back of his somewhat good name and stellar career. Not that his motives are purely altruistic. Eminem in Da Hip Hop Witch is a fabulous disaster, Sid Vicious mixed with a bad blue comic and sans the bass playing skill. You can see him trying. You can sense his talent. And you can see him fall flat on his misguided mug as his longwinded story is reedited over and over again to add more deceptive sales value to the video. Mr. M is mortifying here, but for those who find him a racist homophobe, that will be nothing new. His devoted fans, however, will find his spaced-out scare tactics traumatizing. And unless you pick up A-Pix Entertainment's previous release of the title (which contains the same awful full screen transfer and bad sonic sludge soundtrack as well as a full length director's commentary -- ugh!), you may never, ever see this film. You sure won't see old Artie's version. And while the litigious nature of our society is sending us straight to hell in a docket case basket, one can thank their legal eagle angels for purging Da Hip Hop Witch out of your courtroom consciousness forever. It's one bit of urban upchuck that deserves its unreleased fate. You down with OOP? Yeah, you know me!
Review content copyright © 2003 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Rated R