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Freestyle 101: Hip Hop History (2023)

Freestyle 101: Hip Hop History dives into the history of freestyle rap and all of those that have helped the genre become as big as it is today. Narrated by Chuck D., the film leans into the greatest names of freestyle hip hop, and aims to educate the world. From modern rappers such as Iron Solomon to hip hop greats like Ice-T, the world will have a chance to hear from a wide range of artists.


The biggest issue that I had with Freestyle 101: Hip Hop History is that it doesn’t dive into the history of hip hop as much as potential viewers might expect, but rather it focuses on the now, the individuals who are continuing to drive the artform forward. Sure, it dives a bit into the history of the music genre, but more than half the film talks about modern times, about the things that are happening today. Freestyle 101: Hip Hop History tries hard to include bits of information from the inception of freestyle up until modern day, but I’m not sure that the film ever achieves that balance.


Furthermore, I think there are too many cooks in the kitchen here with Freestyle 101: Hip Hop History. There are so many people that play a role in helping to bring this story to life, but sometimes they step on each other's toes. With too many people trying to work together to breathe life into Freestyle 101: Hip Hop History, there are times when it’s difficult to keep everyone straight, and the film ultimately becomes something of a jumbled mess.


I recently watched another documentary about music, and I had mentioned in my analysis of that film that if nothing else comes of the film, it should promote its artist(s) in a way that makes viewers want to look for them and listen to them. Freestyle 101: Hip Hop History doesn’t do that; it doesn’t make me want to look up these freestyle artists, it doesn’t make me want to watch them while they tour. When the film concluded, that was really all that I needed.


Freestyle 101: Hip Hop History doesn’t effectively do its job. It doesn’t promote these artists in a way that allows them to exist in the minds of viewers beyond the conclusion of the film. By the time the film came to a close I was ready to move on. The film certainly dives into the past, but the present and future play a far more prominent role in the production–and then there were far too many people playing a role in presenting information to the viewers. There’s too much going on, and not enough of the right stuff–and while Freestyle 101: Hip Hop History is, by no means, a failure, I struggled to connect with it.


Directed by Frank Meyer.


Starring Chuck D., Open Mike Eagle, Iron Solomon, Ice-T, P.E.A.C.E., Myke 9, etc.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/10


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