More concert movie than laugh-fest, this is a spirited chronicle of a day-long hip hop event that comedian Dave Chappelle organised on a Brooklyn street corner in September 2004. Chappelle’s idea is to take hip hop back to its roots, bypassing commerce and giving a voice to artists whose controversial lyrics are seldom heard on commerical radio. We watch Chappelle and friends as they rehearse for the event, dish out free tickets to both young and old and gather an impressive line-up of artists from the more soulful, conscious side of hip hop, including Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Common and Kanye West. Chappelle keeps things lively, joking on camera, punctuating the acts with gags , while Michel Gondry maintains our interest, focusing as much on Chappelle’s energy and wit, and goings-on behind the scenes, as the gig itself. Gondry lets himself meander, for example interviewing a pair of crazy old hippies who live near to the makeshift stage or focusing on the Ohio school band hired by Chappelle. The music wins out, though, not least when the Fugees perform together for the first time in ages.
Friday June 30 2006