Th!nkFilm // 2007 // 78 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // February 8th, 2008
The hardest group you've never heard of...is back.
Damon Daniels' nickname is "Coke," but he's also better known for being the writer and director of Gangsta Rap, which is called a "Glockumentary" on the DVD case. It's really more of a rip-off of This Is Spinal Tap, which would make it a "Rock-Glockumentary" or something I suppose. The film chronicles the events of a band called Gangsta Rap, who is much in the same vein of another certain hardcore rap act located in California, particularly NWA. This film follows Gangsta Rap's comeback album and surrounding tour.
From my best recollection (and after the alcohol wore off, since watching Gangsta Rap inspired quite a bit of, er, "self-medication"), let me tell you what Gangsta Rap shares with Spinal Tap, though in its own special way. The modern urban version of Nigel Tufnel is portrayed by Du Rag (Howie Bell), while today's rap interpretation of David St. Hubbins is Big Mike (Malik Barnhardt, 8 Mile). And because rap groups are basically a couple of rappers, a DJ, some turntables and a DAT player, there's no bassist equivalent to speak of, so wave bye-bye to Derek Smalls. And the DJ is the drummer equivalent, the one who dies over and over again through the years. Ian Faith is substituted by Scott (Sam Maccarone, High School High), and Jeanine Petitbone is replaced by Uretha (Tom'ya Bowden).
But wait, even gags and entire scenes are stolen and updated for 21st century ghetto life to boot! Replace Nigel's guitars with Du Rag's bikes, as in bicycles, complete with banana seat. To count a little bit more using the Tap references, the Bobbi Flekman/Sir Dennis sequence, the limo scene with Tommy Pischedda, the hotel sequence, the scene at the airport with the cucumber, the disastrous in-store with Artie Fufkin, Uretha's appearance and influence, and Stonehenge are all things that are lifted and modernized for today's crowd. So now that I've told you what Gangsta Rap has, let me tell you what it doesn't have, which is pretty easy to do. It doesn't have Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean and Rob Reiner, and their absence is felt, because the jokes aren't funny, their derivative nature is frustrating, and the performances by the cast in Gangsta Rap are designed to inflame and insult, more than anything else.
So yeah, it's nowhere near the caliber of the humor of This Is Spinal Tap, and what's bothersome is that it's not even to the caliber of other similar "rap-umentaries" that have come and gone like CB4. If funny was a neighborhood, Gangsta Rap couldn't find it with two hands, a map, and a GPS system. If you happen to encounter it on DVD or TV, you can thank your maker that it's only 78 minutes long, so, like a band-aid, the pain is quick and forgettable.
Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen, the film looks OK, at least as far as cheaply produced comedic documentary pieces go, and the sound is two channel stereo that's also capable, but there are some deleted scenes here. Normally I could understand the reason why a director would cut footage from his film, but when you're talking about a crappy and unfunny one that's a little over an hour and ten minutes without credits, you should probably use as much help as you can get. Besides, it's not like your sides are going to split any more from a "Director's Cut" version of Gangsta Rap.
So do I think you should invest time and money into Gangsta Rap? Well, it's got a lot to say about trying to elevate ones' self past their family and their environment and try to be successful. Voices in the past like Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and others have...wait, we're not talking about the genre? Well, Gangsta Rap: The Glockumentary takes the best from Spinal Tap is makes it unfunny in record speed, and anyone who watches it or even buys it on disc should really consider giving their life to Jesus or something, as there are far better and funnier films to spend your time on.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 78 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Music Video
* Theatrical Trailer
* Official Site (MySpace)