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Culturama 777 DVD
Label: Female Fun Records

Author: Matt Tomer

Culturama captures all of that which turned many an Axl Rose faithful into Q-Tip's man-groupie. Behold: black and white videos, graffiti anthems, vinyl collections. You can forget about bling, but house parties are cool, and so is the sample-crazy production. Add in appearances by the Wu, Kool Keith and Prince Paul, and you've all but cemented a throwback, Golden Era vibe. But oh, the gloriously incoherent goodies to be found. Peter Agoston's third compilation of indie hip-hop videos is an eccentric one, a digest ranging sizably from the plainly traditional to the purely experimental, and hitting a broader range of styles than Andre 3000 has since "ATLiens."

The videos on Culturama 777 collectively constitute a royally scrambled medley on par with Chex Mix. You've got plenty of straight-forward, hoods up street-vids, but next to Zion I's bugged out "Soo Tall" they serve as perfect compliment. GZA dukes it out with DJ Muggs Bobby Fischer style on "General Principles," and Evil's day with Death on "I'm Leaving" looks normal next to the Peanut Butter Wolf acid trip that is "Rain of Earth," but that's providing six-foot, carnival-going swamp creatures haven't yet become commonplace.

Highs include Dooley O's comic interpretation of "The Soaps," where he sees the cable guy make moves with his girl, and the aforementioned Zion I video, which boasts stunning claymation and homeboy carting around an eggman. Tanya Morgan truly takes the cake with the showstopping "We Be," a throwback video at heart, but only for how fun and unadulteratedly original it is. The group (all guys) dance around their own Myspace, spitting bars inside pop-up ads and the like, resulting in something not far from a modern day "Scenario." Lows? There aren't many in the videos themselves, aside the fact that Time Machine's video for "Caught on Tape" doesn't fare well in matching the content of the song. Vinyl Junkies' "Strange Arrangement" is the only real dud on the DVD. With what looks to be completely random homemade footage, the Junkies essentially fuck around, and any dubbing of the lyrics is so awful it comes off as intentional.

The "extras" is not extensive, really just housing bonus videos that could have (and should have) just been included as part of the main feature, most notably the tripped-the-fuck-out experience that is Chemikillz' "When I'm Dead." Additionally, there are two trailers, one plugging some website, and another for an admittedly interesting-looking documentary on underground hip-hop culture. Finally, an otherwise interesting interview with Peter Agoston is damaged by some edited segments that made it so I had no idea what was going on. It isn't the prettiest layout I've seen on DVD, but the sounds of Prince Paul grace my ears when the menu's up, so it's all good. What's found inside is truthfully rare, good rap with good videos, so there's little to hate on. In terms of content, Culturama is what it is, in a collection of tasty visuals, but furthermore it gives those out of the peripheral of the public eye a chance to shine. At long last.

Content: 8 of 10 Layout: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10

Originally posted: October 3, 2006
source: www.RapReviews.com

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