Rap Movie Reviews

Rap Movie Review – State Property

Year of Release: 2002

Film Studio: Lionsgate Films

*Sigh*  I know that I haven’t keeping up with this lately. On one hand, I have been contemplating writing about the rest of my Fast & Furious soundtracks. Another part of me wants to write about Death Row albums, particularly post-Tupac death and also when Dre and Snoop departed the label (Probably because I have been on a Death Row kick lately, especially having written the Death Row Records documentary). Then I have remembered that I also wanted to review the State Property films.

I know that there are plenty of rap movies out there to talk about. The State Property films fall into the same category as when I wrote about Thicker Than Water and Hot Boyz. For all the shit that I had talked about with those two, I think I have found a film that kind of blows them out of the water in terms of badness. I am sure that in some areas I still get a little nostalgic for Thicker Than Water and while I have spoken ill about Hot Boyz (Note to self: Watch other No Limit films), I think I may have found a film that I can put above it in terms of some of the worst rap movies that I have seen.

State Property is basically a movie that stars Beanie Sigel as a character named Beans who is trying to make a name for himself in the crime world. He wants to be feared and known by everyone and has a bunch of guys working for him. Of course, there are a bunch of gangster movie cliches of “one guy messing up and getting killed for it” or “someone pissed off the wrong guy, so he has to get tortured.” Not to mention drug deals gone wrong and women getting kidnapped, as well as random shootouts taking place. You get the picture.

Usually with these types of films, I don’t expect great acting from them. Also, the story has every cliche there is. It’s no secret that this film sucks. Although I will admit that there were moments when I laughed AT certain parts. But when these rappers on screen are only good at playing certain personas, that just showed how they needed to take acting lessons prior to it. It didn’t help that there was not a single likeable character in this film. Though Beans was the protagonist, there was nothing about to make me want to root for him.

It also was of no help how this film was loaded with misogyny. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like looking at scantily-clad women just as much as the next guy, but there was no purpose in some of the scenes with closeups of a woman’s body. Also, a minor spoiler, but in one scene when a deal took place, the camera turned and closed in on a couple of women sharing a rather gratuitous kiss. There was absolutely no reason for that part to even be in the movie other than fanservice.

While the poster said had Jay-Z billed, he was only in it for about five seconds max. The other Roc-A-Fella guys had bigger roles than Jigga himself. Damon Dash had a bigger role than Jay-Z, for crying out loud. Hell, I didn’t even expect to see Amil (Remember her? As in the woman in “Can I Get A…”?) in the film. It seemed like this was a film project for Roc-A-Fella.

I really don’t know what else to say about this film except that this was a bad film, though I think you may have already gotten the picture after reading all of this. I will admit that I remember flipping through channels and coming across it on HBO a long time ago and seeing how bad the acting was from the two minutes I saw of it. However, only one positive I can say about it was that it had a good soundtrack, which I may write about in the future.

Of course, I am aware of the sequel, which I will do next.

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Compilation Review – Irv Gotti Presents: The Murderers

Year of Release: 2000

Record Label: Murder Inc./Def Jam Records

It is now February and I have been planning on doing a series of album reviews related to Murder Inc. At the moment I mainly have the compilations of the label, like The Murderers, The Inc and The Remixes. I don’t have a lot of Ja Rule albums. I have Ashanti albums, although while I might do R&B albums in the future, I am not thinking about doing them for my special of The Inc. My mind may change. I also don’t have any of Lloyd’s albums, so that can’t be done soon either. The only other album that I have is the soundtrack to The Fast and The Furious but I am saving that for my marathon of the Fast & Furious soundtracks come March through April in honor of The Fate of The Furious and I will cop the soundtrack album of that and review it.

Anyway, compilations from record labels are a rather common thing in the hip-hop world. A lot of the time the labels put out these compilation albums in order to have a lot of their lineup shine, to show the world what some of these artists are made of. Sure, you can have albums from said artists from the label but it takes a lot of time and money to see if they are marketable enough to release them. Some get released, and some others don’t. Of course, a good example in the rap world that had an extensive lineup of artists and albums coming out almost every week is No Limit Records, but that is a subject for another day. I am going to talk about the first compilation album that Murder Inc. Records had released called “Irv Gotti Presents: The Murderers.”

According to a review from AllMusic.com, The Murderers (Or Murder Inc) was initially supposed to be a project regarding a supergroup consisting of Ja Rule, Jay-Z and DMX. Unfortunately there had been some issues along the way and the project never really got past its preliminary stages. In the end, what was released was a compilation of tracks put out by rappers on the Murder Inc. label, such as Ja Rule, Tah Murdah (Later known as Caddillac Tah), Black Child, Chris Black, 01, Vita, etc. That’s not a bad thing, however.

For the most of this compilation, it consists of tracks with multiple artists. There are a lot of collaborative songs on here, and very little solo songs to be found. When talking about the solo efforts, one song that stands out in different ways probably has to be “Vita, Vita, Vita” from, well, Vita. I had never doubted Vita’s efforts as a rapper as she has done a lot of good verses in many songs that she has been in. I also found it to be a shame that her solo debut, “La Dolce Vita” was shelved. Anyway, back to the song. Her verses on this track are actually solid, but what docks points from it were the repetitive chorus and the introductory hooks from Ja, Tah and Black Child that appeared prior to a verse. It was mostly average in my opinion. Then you also have a song from DMX on here called “Tales From The Darkside,” which I sort of wondered why because X was not a part of the label (Though he did collaborate with Ja at that point). Regarding the song itself, it actually feels like a lost entry in DMX’s “Damien” saga. The beat actually has a sinister vibe to it and X even did his “Damien” voice at some moments. Anyway, it’s an exceptional listen, so I can’t complain about a DMX track being on this compilation.

As far as other solo tracks go, Black Child had a couple of them, one of which had a laidback beat. Tah Murdah did a decent job in his song, “Get It Right.”

The last solo track that was featured on here happened to have been one of three songs that had appeared on soundtracks to movies that came out prior to this album’s release. “How Many Wanna Die” from Ja had appeared on the soundtrack to 1999’s Light It Up. The song has a rather gritty beat and Ja doing more singing-like rapping in this song. Not like how he did R&B/Pop-like songs like he did after this, but more in the style of how Bone Thugs did some songs.

The other two songs that had initially appeared on movie soundtrack albums were “Somebody’s Gonna Die Tonight” from Dave Bing and Lil’ Mo and “We Murderers Baby” from Ja and Vita, having appeared on the soundtracks to Romeo Must Die and Next Friday, respectively. “Somebody’s Gonna Die Tonight” is actually one of my favorite songs on here as Dave Bing provided some raw rhymes in the song, while Lil’ Mo did a good job singing the chorus. While “We Murderers Baby” is a decent duet from Ja and Vita.

The rest of the album consists of collaborative efforts. Some of the tracks are decent, but the best ones are probably “We Don’t Give a Fuck” and the “Holla Holla Remix.” The latter has a good lineup ranging from Ja to Busta Rhymes and Jay-Z, with each rapper giving it their all in the track. While “We Don’t Give a Fuck” used a sample from Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now,” as in the same song from the Rocky movies. The use of that sample can really get you pumped up, even if it is not the song it sampled.

Irv Gotti definitely had a lot of influence on this album, according to the liner notes. He had contributed a lot to the production of this album. I can’t complain about it because a lot of the beats were actually good. My least favorite song on here was “If You Were My Bitch,” mostly because of the chorus. I also must add that the beat wasn’t done by Gotti, but it was from Damizza. The song had a good beat, however.

One other thing I noticed is that while this album had a total of 25 tracks on here, some of the tracks included filler skits that really didn’t need to be on there. I usually don’t have a problem with skits on albums, but part of me believed that it was to fill up the whole disc.

I have to hand it to Murder Inc for putting out a decent compilation when the label was getting its start. Many of the songs involved the same people, but it seemed like it was a group effort for everyone to do their thing, making a little room for a few solo joints here and there. Also, Irv Gotti did a good job on the production. So this album gets a pass from me.

Next up: Irv Gotti Presents: The Inc.

Top 5 Tracks:

  1. We Don’t Give a Fuck
  2. Somebody’s Gonna Die Tonight
  3. Shit Gets Ugly
  4. Holla Holla Remix
  5. Tales From The Darkside
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