The rap music and artists featured in The Show is what I grew up with. It just feels like real hip hop to me. No offense to any rapper out there today doing their thing…but rap today really isn’t my thing. Especially Drake…I don’t get that dude at all. I will give props to Kid Cudi and Lil’ Dicky. If I’m going to be listening to rap though it is usually going to be from the late 80s and the 90s…some 2000 stuff but it gets less and less as the years go on.
I worked at a very urban Blockbuster Video in the 90’s and The Show would rent constantly. I had never got around to renting it even though I got free rentals. I’m not really sure why but it is safe to say that I really didn’t miss much. The film is basically half concert film, half behind-the-scenes. There is no narrative. It just shows a bunch of different artists and what they go through on the road or where they came from.
For instance Treach from Naughty by Nature brings it all back to East Orange, NJ where he talks how he and the rest of Naughty spent their days in the house coming up with songs like O.P.P. I find that fascinating if it is truthful because that means they were still back on the block, still in the same ol’ house, coming up with raps after their first release Independent Leaders hit in 1989. I mean the album wasn’t successful so I guess it makes sense that they would still be back on the block doing their thing. I just find it funny that O.P.P. was “created” in some bedroom. Treach also breaks down the difference between East and West Coast rap. Remember when that was a thing!??!?!
The film has Russell Simmons visiting Slick Rick in jail. It’s kind of sad – it’s hard seeing The Ruler without all his bling just looking like a sad sack. Simmons talks how he didn’t want to visit him and that he was basically doing it just for the movie. Nice diss, Russ! But Rick is humbled since being in jail and seems to realize what the success did to him.
(Slick Rick did get out, then went back in, then out, then back in, almost deported, and finally pardoned. He did continue to make music throughout the nineties.)
Biggie Smalls pops up talking about his days of drug dealing. He gets pretty deep as he talks about how smoking weed brought out lyrics of depression, suicide, and death. It really was an impressive look at Biggie. His mother Voletta Wallace was actually featured in the movie as well talking about Chris and the days back in Brooklyn. It’s deep because this is Biggie EARLY in his career.
The movie features A LOT of Warren G. There’s a great sequence when he is wondering where all the money is going and what it is getting spent on. Like why does his back-up rappers need a hairdresser when they are all in braids? Warren is featured rapping, on the road, in the hotel room, and signing in record stores. I guess this was filmed at a time when Warren was super hot after Regulate came out.
Russell Simmons talks about Suge Knight, Dr. Dre, and how HUGE Death Row Records is/was. There was a time when them guys were all powerful in the record industry especially with Dre, Snoop, and the Dogg Pound. I was never into the Dogg Pound but they get a lot of show here in The Show. It’s more fun just watching young Snoop being young Snoop.
Perhaps my second favorite part of the flick is Wu-Tang Clan in Japan. It is just funny to see the dynamic between the group especially when they just start fucking with each other. I couldn’t imagine being in a group with NINE members. They all seem to keep it in good spirits. I’ll tell you what – Method Man is just damn smart and he really calls his fellow group members out on their work ethic and his own. You can tell why the man was damn successful not just with Wu-Tang but on his own.
Run-DMC shows up and at first it is sort of weird because this is early to mid 90’s. Of course they had Down With The King out but they are really a bunch of old school cats in a “new school” era. They still rock it. Up onstage they have their act down pat. It’s great to see DMC back when he still had his voice because it would be just a few years later when he had his voice problems. We also see Treach and Biggie talking about just how big an influence the trio were on them. (Biggie talks about the Fat Boys as well – which makes me happy) . Treach lays it down, “You diss Run and them, you dissin’ hip-hop.” And then Run and JMJ are out in the park talking about Dre, Snoop, and Warren G and what they are bringing to the game. At the same time Dr. Dre is interjecting on how Warren G really came up by himself without his help.
And then there is my favorite part of the flick. The old school guys all sitting around a table talking. Furious Five, Kurtis Blow, Whodini, Kid Creole, and Afrika Bambaataa. They are all sitting around talking old school rap and what it was like perfecting their art in the late 70s and early 80s before anyone was putting hip hop out for the masses. I can listen to that shit all day and night. Back when no one gave a shit about hip hop and they were doing it out there on the streets.
What’s the movie boil down to? That basically everyone comes from the same poor backgrounds no matter where they grew up. How it affected their lives (obviously) but how it also affected them for the REST of their lives no matter how rich and famous they got.
And that most of them love weed. LOOOOOOVVVVVVVEEEEEEE weed.
As a time capsule this flick is pretty good because it captures those groups who broke out in the 90’s just like Krush Groove in the 80’s. But while Krush Groove was fiction based on fact, The Show presents reality as it was. There’s no real structure and the lack of any cohesive story hurts what really could have been a really good doc. But I’m glad they captured what they did – back before hip hop became worse and worse and worse…until Drake was talking something about a cell phone. I fucking hate Drake.
Check this out if you want to see those 90’s acts back when they were just breaking out big…and elevating hip hop to a whole new level.