SUNDANCE: "Beyond Beats and Rhymes" Review

by | January 26, 2006 | Comments

Hip-Hop Documentary Questions the Future of Music at Sundance.

Sexism and violence do not disqualify popular music from being compelling, or even classic (see Jimmie Rodgers’ "T for Texas," Robert Johnson’s "32-20 Blues"). But filmmaker Byron Hurt’s "Beyond Beats and Rhymes: A Hip-Hop Head Weighs in on Manhood in Hip-Hop Culture" asks rap fans to take a closer look at where hip-hop is headed.

Hurt’s filmmaking techniques in the film are clearly indebted to Michael Moore; he utilizes video and movie clips to make his points, and he’s not afraid to ask tough questions to people like rap mogul Russell Simmons. But unlike Moore, or moralists like C. Delores Tucker, Hurt doesn’t attempt to exempt himself from the discussion, nor is he an uniformed outsider. On camera, he’s upfront about his love of hip-hop, his evolution on issues of sexism and homophobia, and how he’s saddened by the direction he feels his beloved music is taking.

Hurt interviews a number of prominent artists and activists, from Chuck D of Public Enemy to Talib Kweli, who decry the absence of "conscious hip hop" as a subgenre that major corporations don’t believe will sell (many of the artists interviewed are concerned that more cartoonish, stereotypical images of black men make for a safer sales plan, especially to white audiences). And he deftly explores the use of sexist and homophobic language and how it contributes to a limited definition to what it means to be a man.

The film never feels simply like an accusatory diatribe; it’s a sincere examination of the most important pop music of our time. "Beyond Beats and Rhymes" is rap food for thought.

Tag Cloud

biography Awards Disney Channel OWN PaleyFest 007 crime Character Guide ESPN Rock Kids & Family Star Trek History Spike Oscars Year in Review Mystery Fantasy Valentine's Day Emmys Election Fox News 45 dc Superheroes Fall TV dramedy E! zombies GIFs SXSW TruTV Tomatazos Teen VICE romance Trivia aliens psycho USA Amazon Adult Swim 20th Century Fox Ghostbusters singing competition 2017 medical drama A&E Netflix Marvel Ellie Kemper cops Grammys Bravo USA Network Sci-Fi discovery Britbox Super Bowl Marathons El Rey boxoffice Comic Book Extras Infographic Podcast Drama dceu DirecTV Country Schedule FOX Action Countdown CMT YA First Look Rocky Red Carpet Shondaland spy thriller MTV ratings CW Seed Nickelodeon PBS LGBTQ festivals politics sitcom TIFF FX TLC zombie Comedy CNN Best and Worst NBC comiccon TNT what to watch serial killer 21st Century Fox BBC America IFC Films Pirates Masterpiece Polls and Games Disney crime drama cults Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt AMC thriller Winners President Martial Arts Lifetime Opinion APB MSNBC harry potter Dark Horse Comics Tumblr cooking Trailer Pixar docudrama Mindy Kaling Universal HBO Western CBS All Access Esquire TV Land Cartoon Network Comedy Central Animation Superheroe historical drama Acorn TV streaming Premiere Dates cinemax supernatural Musicals BBC Video Games SundanceTV sports VH1 CBS Biopics war 2016 ABC Family Lionsgate RT History Spring TV Christmas WGN X-Men transformers American Society of Cinematographers National Geographic Showtime Interview political drama Paramount Network TCA 2017 Star Wars 24 frames hist police drama Food Network Set visit Certified Fresh Syfy The Arrangement Pop See It Skip It NYCC TCM DC Universe Box Office Crackle E3 Toys Sony Pictures Photos TBS unscripted binge FXX Musical TCA social media golden globes Cosplay technology talk show Winter TV vampires Paramount composers Reality period drama Rom-Com diversity The CW travel DC streaming service robots SDCC 2015 Sneak Peek justice league Calendar science fiction Mary Tyler Moore Summer Creative Arts Emmys ITV Reality Competition cats Hulu crime thriller crossover Freeform GoT Writers Guild of America Lucasfilm Music YouTube Red Horror based on movie Logo IFC Sundance Now BET Sundance Watching Series adventure finale Warner Bros. TV Nat Geo ABC Starz DC Comics Thanksgiving Nominations Holidays GLAAD