Hip Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes by Byron Hurt

Beyond_Beats_and_RhymesByron Hurt’s film provides a much need discussion on gender. Getting down to how we define what being a woman is and what being a man is through the lens of Hiphop. As a starting point and good idea the film looks at Hiphop, or what passes for Hiphop, as not some odd or strange thing but within the context of the United States male dominated traditions and in some ways how Hiphop and rap music reflect the racial and class tensions of the larger country.
While a lot of Hiphop’s critics say the whole thing is problematic, this same crowd rarely acknowledges either Hiphop as having many voices or its the ability to offer alternatives. The film addresses both and does not let people off the hook with the “its just an expression of what happening”.
Although some rappers in the film check out on the much needed discussion of homophobia the film does shed light on important issues. This film forces the viewer to consider how commercial rap is made to appear one-dimensional, how they may be complicit in that as well as reconsidering how narrow frames of gender impact everyone. The scenes of Spring Bling should be enough to make any critical thinker reconsider the impact of limited ideas about gender.

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