So on March 15th, 2011, myself (Cee), Notion and Bekah (as The Movement Fam at the time) filmed our first music video for the tune 'Ain't No Mountain', from Cee & Bekah's 'The Soul Movement Originals' album. After constant setbacks and delays, last year I managed to retrieve the footage from the cameraman, and this year I finally found an editor to put it all together for us. And even though this tune is from an older project and the video was delayed, the message and the song itself hasn't dated a bit. We feel it's only right that on the two year anniversary of shooting the video, we release it for y'all.
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Hood classic. That movie that represented the hood so thoroughly it is revered by ghetto dwellers world wide for showing outsiders ( which I myself was until I moved to Springhill Lake and started seeing firsthand what the hood was about ) the daily operation like Guru and Primo. Hood classics tend to only vary in terms of location. Weather it’s Uptown New York’s gritty sidewalks underscoring “Juice” or the Brazilian trenches that framed the blood soaked saga of “City Of God” the background adds it own element to the story but regardless of slang or fashion senses the drama had it’s own undertones that were indiscriminate of area. To quote Rakim “It aint where your from it’s where your at” Weather your particularly “at” is Far Rockaway Queens or Kingston Jamaica one thing remains. Slugs burn, drugs are married to problems and shit is REAL.
This movie centered around the character Tommy from Queens New York ( played by the kid DMX ) and gave a glimpse into his day to day life. Nas also starred in the movie as Sincere, Tommy’s right hand man, but DMX was the undisputed star of the flick. He came off as the cat he rhymed about on record but with more money. Shit, dude had the JUMPOFF crib for sure. Stacks in stacks but still that grimy project cat that would yoke anybody up over a wayward glance. The ultimate charismatic villain. The plot revolves around an outta town trip to sling dope fronted to them by the Jamaican Kinpin Lennox ( THIS DUDE IS CRAZY!!!! ) They get snitched on by envious local dealers and a police raid stops the music like a drunk cat bumping the DJ’s turntable at a packed house party. The movie is overall a commentary on the glamorization of crime in Black communities. DMX represented the devil in the equation. Overly ambitious and ruthless to perfection. Nas represented the tortured soul. Drawn to the lifestyle he and Tommy have but realizing the fact success in that life still represents a universal loss. Things kind of loosen up structure wise towards the end but the message is still subliminally sprinkled throughout the movie. Like the part where Tommy has an argument with Knowledge ( Played by Power from Wu tang’s camp. Speaking of Wu, Method Man plays a ghetto assassin in the flick too. SUUUUUUUUU ) one of the characters asks “What happened to Knowledge?” and Tommy responds “Fuck Knowledge. Roll up. I wanna get high” Very slick move Hype. I like that.
Hype Williams has a right to be considered the best music video director of all time. Seriously. Dude is a monster with his. He created marvelous epics for most of the certified superstars in Hip hop and RnB. Stuff like “Put your hands where my eyes can see”, “The rain” and “Can it be all so simple” redefined videos forever. The cinematography was beyond belief and his videos played like mini movies. Hollywood was the next logical step for him. His work on this movie is fucking amazing. The club scene with the black light, the parts in Jamaica, hell, every frame of this movie is beautifully shot. It's one of those types of films that was hard to look away from even for a second because you didn't want to miss that next fly image that was guaranteed to pop up. Even the image of the snitch ( Played by dude that played Cain in Menace 2 Society ) popping up for the first time rocking a VERY yellow track suit, hair permed, eating a banana just stuck out because of how it looked. ( me, Stix and Troub used to say his line from that scene "I don't like that. I don't like that at all" at random times for weeks after we saw it, straight laughing our ass off every time ) I’m not a film student I’m just a cat that knows what I like and believe me I like the way this movie was directed. This flick is the embodiment of the term visually stunning. Hype combined all his tricks for this and stepped it up even further. It’s like when Dre made the Chronic. It had elements of his style from NWA but he redefined and perfected it on that album.
Hood classics may not win Oscars but the effect that they have are just as strong for those that relate to them. My boy called me up today and told me a crazy thing that happened to him and he said that he felt like DMX in Belly. Which caused both of us to laugh because the flick still gets brought up in casual conversations on the regular. And that, boys and girls, is a TRUE HOOD CLASSIC.
There are certain things I miss about England. Sausage rolls, Notting Hill carnival, Walking around London, the clubs etc. One of the things I miss the most is the people. Not the snooty rude muthafuckas, but the normal working class, everyday people. It was such a diverse mix of individuals that it was crazy. The ravers, cool kids, hip hop heads, football hooligans, pub crawlers, smart kids, FLY chicks (a fit bird with British accent is still the biggest turn on for me), West Indians, Pakistani’s etc It was a fucking crazy melting pot of Neighborhoods and little worlds within itself. When I was over there I would get so caught up in life that I would never sightsee. Running the streets at night with my cousins was fun, dangerous and ALWAYS interesting. The spots and lives there were breeding grounds for crazy stories.
I said all that to say this. Those same people I spoke about were dramatized perfectly for this movie. Guy Ritchie dug up the best of England’s worst and polished them up for the screen in this movie. Although the story spans 3 different countries. The heart of the story is in merry old England. The characters in the story are memorable as hell. I cant say the word “Bonjour” without picturing Bullet tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones) slamming some dues head in the car door while some 80’s pop plays in the background. Sol, Brick top, Mickey (man this was the moment I realized the Brad Pitt was a fucking ILL actor) and of course Turkish (Jason Statham). All the characters, apart from their various personality quirks, stuck out for one strong reason: DIALOGUE. Man listen, Everybody in this movie was coming out their face in style. Few movies have had me laughing my ass off as much as this. If you’re a rapper, this is a flick your gonna love cause it makes you wanna step your pen game up. Trust me. The “Desert Eagle POINT five o” speech alone is worth the price of admission.
The other part of the equation is the sequencing. The way certain things are hidden from plain sight adds another layer of humor to the scenes they are used for. Scenes also cut in and out in ways that when pieced together play like a classic episode of “Seinfeld”. The technique of one character setting off a chain of events that affect everybody in the film is used to perfection here (when you see the milk scene you’ll know what I mean). Guy Ritchie really pieced together a well though out gem. Stuff like the “I’m coming to London” section had me like “DAMN!!! Dude wasn’t playing”. I feel it was Tarantino influenced in certain bits but what the hell Tarantino himself was influenced by others so it’s just the natural cycle of creation. Guy Ritchie really put his stamp on this movie and consolidated his own crime flick sub genre style. Previously seen on his other masterpiece, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”.
Even if anyone say’s that the movie didn’t “innovate” the gangster genre, you cant tell me it’s not entertaining. This is one of those movies I’ve watched dozens of times and it never get’s old. Seriously. A couple of months back they showed this “Snatch” every other day on cable. I always caught it when ever I saw it was on. It’s like “The Infamous” by Mobb Deep. You pop it in wanting to hear like 2 songs but you always wind up listening to the whole thing. Truly a classic.
So now, tell me one thing...”Do you know what "nemesis" means?”