Rap Movie Reviews

Rap Movie Review – I Got the Hook Up 2

Year of Release: 2019

Production Companies: RLJ Entertainment/Urban Movie Channel/Genius Minds Pictures

(Takes deep breath) I am going to do my best here to try to explain and review this movie. I never thought I would say this, but after sitting through this, I actually believe that I would give How High 2 a repeated watch before I would even give this a second watch.

Let me make a note here before I go any further. I know I should have covered the first I Got the Hook-Up before I did this, but I must find a way to watch it first. I haven’t watched that movie in years, probably haven’t given it a full viewing since the early 2000s. I remember catching a glimpse of it on BET a few years ago. Though I will say that I don’t understand why BET needs to stretch their programs out to a lot longer than necessary. I get that they need to turn a profit for all the ads that they show, but there is no reason that a 90-minute movie should be stretched to three hours when it is shown on basic cable.

I plan to cover that movie someday, along with the other No Limit films (I found ways to watch the Bout It movies, while I may need to find ways to watch Foolish, Lockdown, even stuff like Da Last Don or Da Game is the Be Sold…). But now I should get right on to this.

I am going to say this. I found out about this movie last summer when I found a trailer for it on YouTube. It made me so confused as to how or why a sequel to I Got the Hook-Up came about. I don’t just mean after more than 20 years, but when looking at how the first movie was given a theatrical release and did a bit decent even for its budget, I guess Master P wanted to do a sequel.

I can only assume that Master P wanted to do a sequel for many years but it just couldn’t get off the ground. It’s the same story as to how Ice Cube has been trying for years to get Last Friday off the ground, but I still hold onto hope for the fourth and final Friday film. After seeing this film, I know that Last Friday will be much, MUCH better.

Okay, I am sure you already see that I am already saying that the movie is bad. Just how bad is it? Well, you’re about to find out.

This movie is totally all over the place that you really wonder what the plot really is. In fact, even when there are sequences related to a subplot or anything similar, you still have trouble figuring out what is going on. In fact, there were so many sequences that were unrelated to each other, with characters we know nothing about nor were introduced and showing some random sequences involving them.

Even though Master P and AJ Johnson reprised their roles as Black and Blue, respectively, they are barely in the movie. Okay, they have big enough roles, but there weren’t a lot of scenes. Some of the scenes involved DC Young Fly and some actor, rapper, or comedian I have no knowledge about and their involvement in the story (if you can call it that).

Also, Black and Blue no longer run a little shop that sells bootleg items or anything. They have gone legit and opened up a restaurant and want to get their business off the ground. Also, for some reason, Romeo Miller (Master P’s son, formerly known as Lil’ Romeo, who was also credited as Executive Producer) has a role in the movie as Detective Johnny Miller, who happened to be Black’s nephew, because another one of P’s sons played Black’s son, Cashmere. As a matter of fact, it turned out that Master P got all of his kids in this movie, including Cymphonique Miller (Best known for playing Kacey Simon on that Nickelodeon sitcom, How to Rock).

There is just no way to describe the plot because there really isn’t one. I mean, sure, a couple of guys get into some trouble with a Mexican gangster (I’m not even generalizing here, as I am Mexican myself and being that this movie is set in Los Angeles, it’s likely that the gangster was Mexican). Then came somewhat of rehash of the predecessor’s plot involving cellphone chips. But unlike the first film, these types of chips enhance wi-fi connections and such. That was the biggest problem of this movie. With there being five writers for the script, that really says a lot.

Also, there were so many forced attempts at humor that I wasn’t sure what was supposed to be funny. I will admit that I got at least a chuckle out of this film, but that was it. AJ Johnson was actually funny in some sequences. But some of the sequences that I found unbearable were with DC Young Fly (I just hope that his stand-up is much better, because I found him unbearable in this film and How High 2) or even some sad attempts at humor when it involves gay panic, negative stereotypes, even some guys obviously drooling over an attractive woman. Also, how do these bits relate to the main story? Oh, I forgot, there wasn’t really a story to it. It didn’t help that when some returning characters appeared that there had to be some elements to connect the first film to this, even though two decades had passed up until the events of this film.

Okay, I have to hand it to Master P for involving his kids, as well as getting a lot of people to come back in this film, as well as credited for this film. Because seriously, the extras just had to be credited (end sarcasm). But really, some characters from the first film returned and also the actors playing them. For example, John Witherspoon (RIP) returned as Mr. Mimm. Tom “Tiny” Lister returned as T-Lay. Even a few other characters returned, but I won’t name them because they aren’t known. Not to mention that these characters only returned for one scene each. I think I also saw P’s brother Silkk in one sequence, though no appearances for C-Murder because he is still locked up.

I wonder if P had tried to contact Gretchen Palmer to return as Lorraine, who was Black’s girlfriend in the first film. The fact that there were multiple writers who wrote the film likely had to find a way to write her out of the script, because I can only guess that she declined to return. Personally, I know Palmer is no spring chicken, but having seen her on social media, she looks great for her age, but even then, she said no to returning. If that’s the case, I don’t blame her.

Part of me wishes that I had covered the predecessor earlier on. I don’t know if, or even think that the film holds up now. Though I am certain that it won’t because while I enjoyed it at one point, I was only 14 when I first saw it. I do plan to cover it, but my gut is telling me that it won’t hold up (if it even would at all). But as someone who doesn’t mind watching bad movies, whether it’s to laugh at, or to just see what the problems are (it’s not the same as hate-watching, by the way), I will cover it sometime, maybe even soon. I’m certain it will look good in comparison to the sequel, but at the same time, I am also sure that my teenage memories will just go down the drain. I’ll be prepared.

There is really not a lot more that I can say about this film. It’s obvious that I really did not like it. Like I said before, after sitting through this, I would very much give How High 2 another watch before I even give this another watch. Don’t get me wrong, How High 2 was bad. It really was, but this movie was bad that it made How High 2 looked good in comparison, and that’s really sad. I have to give Master P props for trying to get the movie off the ground, but at the same time, the execution just failed. When I get to other No Limit Films (and really, this can’t be considered a No Limit film because that company doesn’t exist anymore), I will see how they hold up and how they are. Some have said that some can be entertaining despite the budget and the bad acting. But this wasn’t one of those films.

Rating: 1/5


Album Review: West Coast Bad Boyz – High Fo’ Xmas


Year: 1994

Label: No Limit Records/Solar Music Group

Track Listing:

  1. High Fo’ Xmas
  2. Intro
  3. Lock Up Fo’ Xmas
  4. Talk
  5. Jacking Fo Da Holidays
  6. Chillin’ N Da Game
  7. Ghetto Nite
  8. Christmas In Da Ghetto
  9. Hood Carols
  10. Rev. Do Wrong Xmas Party
  11. No Limit Party

So now I am continuing with my Christmas/holiday special. I held on to my promise to do the compilation of “High Fo’ Xmas” from West Coast Bad Boyz. This is a No Limit album, by the way, and unlike “Christmas On Death Row,” this isn’t a traditional holiday album and I will admit that I bought this album as kind of a counter to the Death Row album. I saw that this wasn’t a family-friendly Christmas album to begin with.

If anything I bought this as a joke on my part. It wouldn’t be the first time that I heard some Christmas rap song that isn’t really appropriate to listen to. “Merry Muthaphuckkin Xmas” from Eazy-E is a rather humorous song that spoofs Christmas songs. Some songs on here are similar to that, and then you also have songs that didn’t need to be on this album to begin with.

I will note that this album came out in the days when No Limit still represented the West Coast, particularly the Bay Area. This was before they became a more south-based label when they had those gaudy Pen & Pixel album covers. Hence why this was a West Coast Bad Boyz compilation.

One thing that really got me about this album was that it had the intro as the second track, when the intro is often the first track of the album.

Anyway, a lot of the tracks on this album varied and mentioned Christmas and the holidays in passing, but there weren’t that many tracks that were about Christmas. For example, the opening track, which was also the title track, talks about getting high around the holidays in one of the verses, but then the rest has little reference to the holidays. Not a bad track. It has a laid-back beat that has the feel of a stoner song. Hence the name.

“Lock Up Fo Xmas” was similar in that it talked about being locked up during Christmastime but then went into the struggles of being locked up. King George, a rapper who I am really unfamiliar with, actually had good verses in this song. So this was actually a decent track. I will say the same thing, or maybe that this song was better, when thinking of “Jacking Fo Da Holidays,” as that song used a lot of beats from different songs ranging from “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” from Bone Thugs to “Funkdafied” from Da Brat. There were a lot of beats used on this song to name, and it was funny to hear P try to rap some of the verses similar to the rappers from each respective song.

One song that drew my attention prior to buying this album was “Christmas in da Ghetto” and it’s kind of a strange track to listen to as there is some transition in beats when listening to the chorus and the verses. One minute you would hear the chorus, which is similar to “Deck The Halls,” and then when you hear the verses from C-Murder and Master P, it has a totally different beat. I will add that when I listened to one verse from C-Murder, it reminded me of a song from RBL Posse, particularly from their album, “A Lesson To Be Learned.”

“Rev. Do Wrong Xmas Party” is another decent track from other No Limit rappers during that time, Big Ed (RIP), Lil Ric, and Dangerous Dame.

Keeping with the Christmas theme that this album has, a couple of interludes had different versions of traditional Christmas carols, like “Ghetto Nite” was a different take on “Silent Night.” While the “Hood Carols” was Master P singing his own rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” It’s actually rather humorous.

Remember when I said that there were tracks that felt like they belonged somewhere else? Well, those two songs are “Chillin’ in Da Game” and “No Limit Party,” which the latter is a remix. They have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, but they are decent tracks nonetheless. I now wonder where I could find the original version to “No Limit Party.”

The only thing that I have an issue with about this album is that it really didn’t have the feel of a gangsta rap Christmas album. Sure, there were songs that talked about getting high, the drug game or hard time around the holidays, but take that part away and it really wouldn’t have made a difference. It’s still a decent compilation, though. I plan to do other No Limit albums in the future and I know that there are a lot out there.

Top 5 Tracks:

  1. Jacking Fo Da Holidays
  2. Christmas In Da Ghetto
  3. Lock Up Fo Xmas
  4. High Fo’ Xmas
  5. Rev. Do Wrong Xmas Party

Movie Soundtracks: The Substitute

The Substitute soundtrack

Year: 1996

Label: Priority Records

Track listing:

  1. Hoo-Bangin’ – Mack 10
  2. Licorice Stiks – Intense Method
  3. Danger – Road Dawgs feat. AllFrumThaI
  4. Miami Life – Ras Kass
  5. Bring It On – Organized Konfusion
  6. Bang ‘Em Up – TRU feat. Mr. Serv-On
  7. Head Up – Young Murder Squad feat. Sh’Killa
  8. I Got That Cream – Master P
  9. Hood Life – Lil 1/2 Dead
  10. Money, Power & Women – G-Spot Geez
  11. All of Puerto Rico – Afro-Rican

Many years ago, it would seem that a lot of movies were made in order to also sell soundtrack albums to said movie. That is not to say that the movies weren’t made for people to watch, but there was once a time when an advertisement for the film’s soundtrack was placed in a trailer/TV spot, particularly a list of artists on the film’s soundtrack.

This takes me back to when I was only a young boy. Having become a hip-hop fan at a rather young age, one thing that I will note was that when I saw a TV spot for the film, “The Substitute,” the main thing that caught my attention was the list of artists there. It had a good lineup, even though I was unfamiliar with a few of them at that time. Hell, a couple of acts on this album probably didn’t even have much work after this. However, that is not to say that they didn’t have bad tracks. Regarding the film, on the surface, it looked like a knockoff of “Dangerous Minds,” which came out a year prior, except the movie had more of an action twist and the school that Tom Berenger taught at made the school that Michelle Pfeiffer taught at seem like a Christian school.

But enough about the movie, it’s time to talk about the soundtrack, and how does it hold up compared to 20 years ago.

The first track that is heard on this album is “Hoo-Bangin'” from Mack 10. This song was actually a single for this compilation back in 1996 and being that Mack 10 was at one time Ice Cube’s protege and frequent collaborator, Cube had a production credit for this song. He was also heard in the song’s chorus. As for the song itself, it has a similar sound to Mack 10’s song “Foe Life,” not to mention that he mentioned it in a verse. Here is what I mean:

I’m on the hunt for the loot, watch your pockets cause I pat em
Bailin through the hood in chucks and stacey adams
Got the spot still poppin, got your legs still rockin
Ever since foe life, my ex bitch been jockin

The song is still quite a banger. It had a good beat and Mack 10 had spit some good rhymes in it. One of my top favorite songs on this album. 5/5

The second track is “Licorice Stiks” from Intense Method. No, this song is definitely not about a certain snack. I am not familiar with this group at all. In fact, I don’t think that they had many cuts apart from this one, let alone an album. This song was produced by West Coast rap producer Rhythm D, and there was a good rhythm to it. Plus, the group’s members had some good rhymes in their verses. However, the main flaw about this song is the chorus as it got a little repetitive after a while when it talked about having “phat beats.” But still a good song, nonetheless. 4/5

“Danger” from Road Dawgs and AllFrumThaI (And that is pronounced “All From The I”) is a typical West Coast gangsta track about gangbanging with violent lyrics. One thing to know about the Road Dawgs and AllFrumThaI is that they were collaborators of Mack 10. The album’s chorus is kind of infectious, though, as it would stay in your head for a bit. However, that doesn’t mean the track is bad. It’s still a good song to listen to despite its subject matter. 4/5

The irony about this album is that while the movie was set in Miami, FL, a lot of the artists on here are West Coast rappers. Ras Kass, who is from Carson, Calif., did the song “Miami Life,” which does go with the movie’s theme, but it doesn’t really talk about the events of the film. It’s more of a song that is inspired by the film, if anything. Ras Kass’s raw vocals are backed by a smooth beat. Ras Kass did not fail to deliver his lyrics on this track. Also, the beat had an interesting feel. One of the other top tracks on this soundtrack. It was even a single back then, too. 4.5/5

Now we take it to the East Coast with Organized Konfusion’s “Bring It On.” Pharoahe Monch delivers the goods whenever he rocks the mic, and the verse he did was no exception. Prince Po also delivered some ill rhymes in his verse. One of the best tracks on this album. 5/5

Now we head down to the South in No Limit territory with “Bang ‘Em Up” from TRU (The Real Untouchables is what that stood for) and Mr. Serv-On. Truth be told, I will say that I got this song confused with “Danger” in the past because the chorus repeated itself and the beat is somewhat similar, or at least the intro to the song was. The beat was actually good, as it was produced by KLC. Mr. Serv-On had a good verse, but the weak link to this song was Silkk The Shocker’s verse. It is still a decent track nonetheless. 3.5/5

“Head Up” from the Young Murder Squad, along with a female rapper named Sh’killa, is one of my other favorite tracks from this album. This song is different from what has been heard. The beat is fast-paced, and some of the rappers on this song had good verses. I was also impressed by Sh’killa, who, like even the Young Murder Squad, is someone who I am unfamiliar with. I heard that YMS and Sh’killa have albums. I may have to cop those someday to check them out. Maybe review them, too. 5/5

And now we return to No Limit with Master P’s “I Got That Cream.” Now Master P was never a good rapper, but this song was actually decent. Actually, during this time, he was not bad. The song had a good beat, though the subject matter of this song was basic, as it talked about drug-dealing. Not a bad track. 3.5/5

“Hood Life” from Lil 1/2 Dead is also another standout track on this album. Now I know that this rapper never achieved success like some other people in the DPG family did like Snoop, Kurupt, Daz, etc. but he actually had some raw lyrics about, you guessed it, the hood life. 5/5

The next track is from an unknown group called G-Spot-Geez, and it’s called “Money, Power & Women.” Now it’s obvious that the song title was taken from a particular line from the movie “Scarface,” however the song has a smooth beat and the rappers from this group actually had some decent lyrics that weren’t braggadocious about getting money and power. I wonder what happened to this group after this came out. It doesn’t seem like they had done much after this. 4.5/5

And now for a total shift into something different. This album closes out with “All of Puerto Rico” from Miami drum and bass group Afro-Rican. This song is kind of the oddball of this album, but it’s not a bad track by any means. It just felt like a dramatic shift considering the other 10 tracks were of a certain context, even though they varied in styles. It’s a decent dance track, though. 3/5

Overall, this was a good soundtrack album. I found this at a record store in 2010 for a rather cheap price. It’s a good mix of West Coast rap with a touch of East Coast and South, and a decent dance track to cap the album off. I highly recommend you track this down.

Top Five Tracks:

  1. Hoo-Bangin’
  2. Head Up
  3. Hood Life
  4. Miami Life
  5. Danger