RapReviews DVD Reviews

[E-40 & The Hype on Hyphy] E-40 & The Hype on Hyphy
Label: BME/Reprise Records

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

Last year RapReviews.com took a look at "Hyphy Exposed," a video I felt used the name of the Bay Area's lifestyle as a marketing ploy to sell poorly filmed exploits of criminal behavior. Not only did Fall Thru Entertainment shamelessly exploit the name of hyphy for profit, watching it constituted a gross waste of my time and may have tarnished an innovative new form of hip-hop quickly spreading throughout the country and the world. It is therefore my sincere and admittedly biased hope that this E-40 DVD about "The Hype on Hyphy" will set the record straight and present a picture of hyphy that doesn't debase it to being simply the wild and reckless behavior of people who drink too much.

The DVD opens with a warning that the stunts performed in the video are done by trained professionals and shouldn't be attempted by amateurs at home, which I feel is a good way to start. A caption that follows reads "Hyphy: Musical movement that is fueling a subculture in the Yay Area. High energetic music. SF Bay Area version of crunk." That's already a better explanation than anything from the last DVD on this subject I reviewed. We go to B-Legit at a party and I immediately notice is the presence of law enforcement standing around to ensure the safetyof the public and the participants. Trust me if any cops showed up in "Hyphy Exposed" people would be running from the po'-po' to get away; their "hyphy" wasn't done in broad daylight with the support of the police department like the party found here. They interview a dancer named Head who describes hyphy this way: "You don't need a pill to go dumb, you just get high off life!" Well said. Keak Da Sneak describes hyphy as everybody having their own flavor and style, but in the end "I can show you better than I can tell you." Members of The Architechz describe it as being an after school activity that was better than the life on the streets, and pay tribute to the fallen brothers of a group member who should be here dancing and partying with them.

E-40: "Hyphy started off without even being the dance. Hyphy was just like man {fuck} you too hyphy for me, just wild. Oh naw he just wanna wild with the boys, he just hyphy. Wild, just energy. Came to dance, dancin bein around, then it became the title of the dance, you smell me. Then it became part of the whole movement, the sideshows you dig, the stunna shades, the dreadlocks, the superduper flamboastin to the extreme, and it just became it kinda formed itself and shape and molded itself. And now we got a whole movement, it's a whole bunch of {shit} in one." We go to Olis Simmons, director of the Youth Uprising Community Center. Simmons talks about hyphy as the beauty of organized chaos, and how young people can actually use these arts and the resources of the Community Center to become part of the entertainment industry and make a good living legit. Malika (formerly from MTV's "Making the Band") describes hyphy as being "way too much," like a "big-ass Winnebago" instead of a small camper. "When you come to the town, you gonna leave like - wow they was doin way too much out there." Throughout all the interview segments one thing remains constant - everybody describes it as a positive release of self-expression, whether through dancing music or doing car tricks. Bohagon: "Crunk and hyphy are like kin, they're like cousins." E-40: "People like Just-Ice, Mantronix, they was COLD GETTIN DUMB. Flavor Flav GO DUMB. Lloyd Banks be doin it. It's just lettin yourself do what it do, you smell me, just wildin out."

From there we go to the set of E-40's video, where people are expressing their hyphy by dancing, showing off their tracked out cars, spinning wheels and burning rubber. And as you had to expect sooner or later, we were going to get footage of people ghostriding their whips. Throughout the DVD we get footage of an old man being interviewed and asked all of the slang associated with hyphy, and the interviewer finally has to explain to the man that ghostriding involves being outside of your car as it rolls down the street besides you. "Oh that's what it is!" But as the announcer for Cryme Tyme would say in WWE, these actions should NOT be imitated in your hood. The documentary portion of the DVD quickly comes to an end and we go to the video for E-40's "Tell Me When to Go." It's more of the same seen in the documentary, people dancing, riding their cars, and having a good time all shown in the stark relief of black and white film, making it in some ways feel more like a documentary than the previous footage. E-40 even illustrates the lyrics by walking to the store and talking on his phone just as he describes in the track. At the end is a respectful full color "R.I.P. Mac Dre" graphic. From there the DVD moves to a "U and Dat" video, which not surprisingly features a lot of good looking women showing off their assets to E-40. After all this there is still MORE footage, showing the making of both music videos with behind the scenes interviews. All told the running time for the whole DVD is a little under an hour and a half.

Thankfully this DVD is 100% on the money and everything "Hyphy Exposed" wasn't. I'm glad to see "The Hype on Hyphy" doesn't serve to exploit the scene or culture. Even though several people throughout the DVD state that hyphy can have both a positive and a negative side, the impression you're left with is that whether someone gets dumb in a good or a bad way is an INDIVIDUAL choice and not a reflection on the music or the culture itself. Mad props to E-40 and everybody involved here for setting the record straight. Now to be fair there are a few negatives here. If you bought this DVD because E-40's name was attached to it, you may be dissapointed. Other than his two music videos and a few interviews here and there, this release is much more about the movement he is part of than 40-Water himself. Also considering the main features only add up to about 80 minutes there was plenty of room leftover for some bonus features or additional music videos, and they wouldn't have even needed to dual layer the disc to get them on there. All told though "E-40 & The Hype on Hyphy" is a refreshingly pleasant look at the positive side of hyphy music and culture, showing that like all hip-hop it's a form of artistic self-expression to give individuals a voice and an outlet for their passions, and everyone involved here is passionate about hyphy and it shows.

Content: 7.5 of 10 Layout: 6.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10

Originally posted: May 1, 2007
source: www.RapReviews.com

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