DJ Chill: The Best of Urban Talent Showcase, Vol. 1
Label: Emerald Records
Author: Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez
Every major city has its own local hip-hop show that either plays music videos, highlights local acts, or most likely blends both elements. Whether accessible on local cable access or a small time network affiliate, these shows provide a fresh alternative to the major networks and many times do have plenty to offer. "Urban Talent Showcase" seems to be one of these shows, representing the Houston underground. This DVD, hosted by DJ Chill, highlights what I assume are the show's best moments, specifically those involving the legendary Screwed Up Click. While this DVD's concept and content were immensely promising, ultimately the project fails due mostly to technical issues.
The DVD is obviously a local project as the packaging and even DVD menu lacks all the flash and fancy graphics associated with most DVD projects today, but that doesn't necessarily spell doom for the DVD. As the actual footage comes on, it's very crisp and clear and doesn't look like most of the video footage that makes its way on most low budget concert/documentary films. Very quickly it's evident that the concept of the show is not music videos or interviews, but live footage of rappers in concert at the same venue. Throughout the film, different acts are shown on the stage of what looks like a local night club with the prerequisite club girls manning the back of the stage. Though the performances and venue lack any bells and whistles, the chance to see many of these acts live is very appealing to fans of the Screwed Up Click. Outside of Houston, it's not very easy to find most of these guys in concert, and if you do it's usually a sporadic and very poorly put together performance at a hole in the wall club.
The performances themselves range from great to absolutely horrible, but the artists themselves aren't responsible for the quality of the performance. The best performance is the first one featuring E.S.G. Through a short set, E.S.G. spins through older hits, new hits off his "All-American Gangsta" album, and even drops a couple of pretty dope freestyles. The freestyles are the most impressive as they incorporate different elements from the venue to show that they really are off the dome and not some prewritten verses. From here the technical problems ruin most of the performances. H.A.W.K.'s performance of his hit "U Already Know" is ruined because the mics weren't working properly at the venue, so instead a studio version of the track gets synced up during his "live" performance. This exact thing happens more than once on the DVD either because there were issues with the mics, or because the live performances contain profanity. I assume that if the clips were originally intended to air on public TV, then it was necessary to either edit or do something to mask the profanity – but on the DVD version the clips should have been presented in their original format.
So while the DVD represents well with Big Pokey, E.S.G., H.A.W.K., Lil' Keke, and Lil' O all making appearances, it suffers from too many technical issues to be recommended. The video is crisp and on point, so it is not the issue, but the sound gets messed up too many times on the DVD. Considering the performances are live, there should never be a moment that studio versions of the songs get synced up with the video. That in itself is completely unacceptable. Next time around the label needs to make sure all the mics are properly hooked up all the time and that original footage is stored so it can replace the TV edit material on the DVD pressing. Done right, this kind of stuff can be dope material and very valuable to fans who aren't close enough to catch these performances live. As it stands, this DVD is promising but isn't worth retail price considering how poorly put together ends up.
Content: 3 of 10
Layout: 3 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 3 of 10
Originally posted: April 18, 2006