RapReviews DVD Reviews

[No Boundaries] various artists :: No Boundaries Soundtrack
Label: Slam Jamz/Music Video Distributors

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

Honesty is always the best policy, and with that being said I have to be perfectly honest with the readers of this review. First of all, I've never seen the show/movie/series that "No Boundaries" is supposed to be a soundtrack for. I tried Google searching it and ended up with a bunch of links to charities that operate across international lines. I also tried the Slam Jamz website, but every link seemed to require me to sign up for an account to view content, which I didn't really feel like doing. Secondly it's entirely possible I'm missing the point, and that "No Boundaries" is a soundtrack unto itself. Confused? So was I when I opened this DVD case and found two discs inside. One is the DVD I'm reviewing, the other is a CD "soundtrack" unto itself with 17 tracks. Other than Public Enemy and the The Impossebulls, I can honestly state I haven't heard of anyone that's on it. General Pop? Dirty North? 7th Octave? Most Hi-Fi? To me these seem like band names created with a random word generator. I'll come up with a few myself - Octavius Fish, Disco Porno, Cheddar Posse, Atari Organ, Nuclear Monkey. See, it's a fun game that YOU TOO can play along with at home! Nonetheless I have to be fair and assume there's a method to this madness, particularly since it seems to have been orchestrated by a hip-hop icon who I hold in the highest regard - the legendary Chuck D himself.

Our feature presentation opens with the word "745filmspresents" (yes one word, not seperate, and seemingly the only people involved who aren't hyperlinked on the DVD jacket) and the title "The Road Show: The Official General Pop 'Bar None' Tour Documentary." At least now I have some idea of what's going on - one of the groups from the CD side of this two-disc set is going to be profiled - General Pop. We're introduced to Billy Ray Valentine, the lead vocalist of the group, sitting in a recording studio. The other members are quickly cameoed: Link, Dub (pronounced DOOB due to a German U), JM, and Dr. DQ Triple C(apparently the one drinking a 40 and stumbling around). Billy Ray lets us know they're from Harlem, even though his name would make you think he's a country singer from Alabama. We go to one of the members of the group wearing a Jets jersey and a doo-rag live outdoors, as he welcomes the "hundred people watching this" to the Harlem streets. I'm not sure if he's being funny, or just as blatantly honest as I was in the first paragraph. The video footage and editing seem too MTV-slick for something only meant to be seen by 100 people though, so I'll assume he's joking. We flip to them at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles Airport. Billy Ray is telling us how gangster he is, along with some incomprehensible story about how he came about. First tip - if you and your bandmates are telling some story about your origins for home video, try to make it more clear. They listen to beats on a laptop in the hotel room, and generally show us how ugly any of us look when we've just come off an airplane and crashed in a hotel room. Maybe if Redman was narrating this, it would be some funny shit. Right now I'm bored off my fucking ass. Thankfully that's what remote controls are for.

After many minutes of inane conversation in their hotel room, we skip to the next day when the sun comes up and they load up a Pontiac to go do their first show in San Diego - the "tour bus" if you will. I can't knock it though - I've seen a lot of live bands rip shows in small venues that loaded and unloaded their entire set out of a minivan. You don't need a tour bus to know how to rock. Apparently they're envious of Public Enemy's tour bus though, because we immediately get treated to an inside look at theirs. General Pop at least seem to be not be too mad about the whole thing, as the band member in the NYC shirt says "you have to ride in that before you get to ride in this." Of course, he forgot to mention that due to the way the music industry is structured, 99% of artists and groups out there will never graduate beyond the Pontiac minivan. En route to San Diego, we're treated to them practicing their material. They seem like a cross between The Roots and Pharcyde, into live instrumentation sounds and uptempo vocals. They don't stink by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not overwhelmed by how dope they are either. We flip back to Billy Ray in the sutdio narrating, and then back to the group marking out at seeing the Pacific Ocean. Hey that's no big - I did the same thing the first time I was in Santa Cruz. Then we go backstage at "Belly Up," which is apparently the big show they're playing. Way too much time is spent on some dude being half-dressed, buttoning and unbuttoning his shirt. They finally get introduced and come out on stage to perform their song "Falling Down," but I get the feeling they were the opening act given the tepid reaction they got. The song seems decent enough, but you can't really make out the words from a live performance, so unless you'd heard them before you wouldn't glean anything about what they're like. The camera stays focused on the stage the whole time, so we can't even tell if the crowd is reacting to their antics on stage. We flip back to the studio where Billy Ray and Triple C are discussing throwing flyers out to the crowd. Yes - it's that exciting. Then we see them hanging out backstage with white bitches. Yup - at every rap show, you'll find a few white bitches who want to get drunk and hang out backstage - even an unknown group like General Pop.

I stopped caring about the story, and fast-forwarded to them warming up at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. A huge P.E. silhouette is behind them on stage, just in case you had any doubt whose tour it was. They perform another song I don't know. The rather cliched formula of switching back to Billy Ray narrating from the studio is executed yet again, and apparently Triple C is some sort of relic from the 60's who has a hippie attitude (and generally sounds high on 20 different things any time he speaks) and doesn't like the "asshole" road manager. Road managers generally have to be assholes though, or their hippie drunk band members don't ever make it to the show and get on stage in time. "The Next Day - on Venice Beach" General Pop is checking out the wares from a vendor who has everything for the marijuana connoisseur. Triple C is still bitching about the road manager at this point, and Billy Ray is showing off the pipe for smoking dope that he just bought. Triple C asks him "Do you put little white rocks in there?" He seems like a guy who would know. I'm really tired of it at this point, so I'm reaching for the remote again. They continue to wander around Venice Beach, and apparently Billy Ray playing a pick-up game of basketball was important enough for a chapter insert. Next - House of Blues in Anaheim. More backstage shit, including the exciting footage of them riding in an elevator. I'm starting to think that "100 people watching" thing was accurate, because only hardcore fans that know who General Pop is would still be interested. This ain't funny or entertaining like backstage tour footage from Xzibit or Tha Liks - it's just plain boring. Since I don't know any of their songs, I really can't get into the live performances either.

I skipped ahead to the next chapter called "What is a DAT?" It's more backstage giggling at inside jokes only General Pop seem to understand. Not interested. I'm hitting the chapter skip again. This one is titled iLardo 'Craka' Rivera, and apparently General Pop is outdoors interviewing some street bum who used to do acid tabs. He's also got some skull tattoo on his arm, which the camera man seems intensely interested in. As if I didn't think these guys had too much to do with substance abuse already, they continue to interview the street bum about what his favorite kinds of alcohol and weed are. He's apparently a married street bum though, and he has a tattoo for his wife as well. Even General Pop has had enough of his bullshit stories, as the band member and cameraman get up and walk away. Then we go to footage of them live at The World in New York City, apparently on the Dilated Peoples "Expansion Team" tour. Same live show I've seen four or five times already, so I'm chaptering ahead again. Next up, they get into a confrontation with the NYPD, as they're lamping at a subway station waiting to catch a ride. They don't like the cameras, don't like the music they're listening to, and tell them unless they have a permit from the T.A. they can't film anything. Typical pigs, throwing their weight around just because they can, telling them only "Joe Blow from Iowa" would get away with what they're doing. Possibly the most interesting part of the DVD thus far, just because these pigs have no idea what assholes they're looking or sounding like on this video.

Next up is a chapter confusingly titled "Jon Marc Sandifer's Knowing Richard Black The Preview." Apparently this chapter was supposed to come after two music videos according to the DVD cover, but it comes before. It's some spoken word bullshit that at this point I really don't give a fuck about, complete with Jon Marc's annoying Bonzi Buddy talking to us on his computer. I skip ahead trying to find the promised music videos, and just as I do the presentation grinds to a halt and takes me back to the main menu. The FUCK? Okay, maybe they're hidden under the bonus features. While the promised Nya "Be Alright" video is missing, the General Pop "Bar None/Take a Ride" video is here along with a photo gallery and a motorcycle stunt reel. While the entire presentation is billed as being approximately 100 minutes, it was so tiresome it didn't take me nearly that long to get through it. Now let it be said that ONE I really have nothing against General Pop themselves, but the format of this DVD is all wrong since all I get to know about them are their quirks and annoying habits backstage as opposed to their music, which really doesn't seem so bad; and TWO I still don't get the "No Boundaries" concept at all but I get the feeling the CD that comes with this DVD is really the more important part of this presentation. The DVD by itself certainly doesn't stand up and really isn't that pleasant to watch. Maybe if you were as high as Billy Ray and General C, their antics would seem much more amusing. As it is though, solely on the DVD portion of this presentation, I can't recommend "No Boundaries" at all.

Content: 3 of 10 Layout: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 4 of 10

Originally posted: January 11, 2005
source: www.RapReviews.com

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