Among the bonus material included with this basketball documentary are approximately one hour of highlight clips accompanied by music provided by Duce-O. It's done And-1 style with the music attempting to match the energy of the plays and other footage. It's a smart way to market music as the basketball highlights keep you entertained and prevent you from hitting the "Forward" button on the control even when the music isn't to your liking.
While an apt business man, Duce-O doesn't necessarily amaze you with his work. He's an 18-year old rapper/producer/entrepreneur who does each competently enough but does neither good enough to stand out.
On the emceeing side of things Duce-O brings the usual street/battle raps full of brags and boasts. It's great for any emcee to exude confidence and it is an essential element for success, but the right to brag has to be earned. Lyrically Duce-O doesn't earn that right as his lyrics follow the trend of tired metaphors intertwined with threats and boasts. Since he concentrates on telling you just how ill he is, Duce-O does very little to let the listener get to know the person behind the emcee. He has potential as an emcee and has the time to reach that potential due to his young age, but his current offering doesn't showcase this talent as well as it could.
On the production and business side of things, Duce-O matches his skills on the mic with music that isn't bad but it isn't impressive either. The rappers that surround Duce-O are O.K. on the mic with the same street tales and brags. There's nothing necessarily wrong with music that has this focus, but the emcees featured don't do it well enough to stand on the strength of their lyrical skills alone. The only outright bad artist is a female R & B singer featured on two tracks who sounds like she's struggling to hit the right note. The lyrics on those songs also lack any real originality which is further highlighted by the horrendous singing. Production on the tracks is not original or amazing, but doesn't compel you to stop listening either. Without a track listing for the bonus features its difficult to pinpoint the true highlights, but among the better beats is the music that accompanies the children's basketball highlights. Other tracks feature run of the mill keyboard production that lacks the depth and innovation to compete with the current crop of hip-hop producers.
As a whole the package is enjoyable. While focusing on local basketball highlights, the action is heavy enough to keep your attention. The music does a good enough job as background, but will not motivate anyone to ask "Who's this cat rapping?" There is potential for Duce-O and his ambition will definitely carry him far in reaching that potential, but Flint Star should be peeped for the gritty inner-city look at basketball life rather than the music.
Video Vibes: 5 of 10 Music Vibes: 3 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 4 of 10
Originally posted: December 21, 2004