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Rhyme & Punishment - Documentary Review & Movie Trailer

Review Date: March 17, 2012

DVD Release Date: March 15, 2012

Review by Compay for


rhyme and punishment movie review

In Rhyme and Punishment, Hip Hop filmmaker Peter Spirer captures the real prison stories of some of the most influential names in the rap world.  The documentary offers an eye-opening look at rappers and the American prison system.

While the film itself was both shot and edited well, its success is due to the exclusive interviews and previously unseen footage.  Despite the fact that many Hip Hop heads are already familiar with the incarceration of the artists featured in this film, their stories are candid and surprising.  You're provided with an in-depth look at life behind bars for established rappers.


Any long-time rap fan should be familiar with the "Hip Hop Police", as the rapper-specific task forces are commonly referred to.  But what Rhyme and Punishment excels at is shining a spotlight at exactly how various law enforcement agencies target rappers.  If the playing field of justice was already uneven for minorities in America, for rappers the system is even more discriminatory.


One of the most surprising anecdotes comes from Three 6 Mafia associate Project Pat.  The Sippin' on Some Sizzurp hook slinger shares the story of how his lyrics of illegal drug activity played a part in his sentencing after being arrested for a parole violation.


The significance of his story is that a disparity exists between how America's judicial system treats musical entertainers, and that of actors.  Action stars that have gunned down hundreds of enemies on the big screen aren't judged on the basis of the characters they portray.  Yet rappers that weave similarly fabricated stories of illegal activity often find themselves being judged on the basis of their own lyrics when in the courtroom.


That's not to say that the rappers featured in Rhyme and Punishment try to pawn the blame off entirely to the legal system.  Many of the artists interviewed don't make excuses for the actual crimes committed, nor paint themselves with the "it wasn't me" brush.  But what their stories do reveal is that they were often singled out for being rap artists, or that their basic legal rights had been violated to some degree.


What's especially refreshing about Rhyme and Punishment is that most of the artists featured make it clear that life behind bars isn't worth glorifying.  Some of the rappers interviewed discuss how little they knew what to expect from their first time being locked up, and the culture shock that ensued.


The DVD features exclusive interviews with Project Pat, J-Swift, Beanie Siegel, Immortal Technique, Prodigy, Cassidy, and several others.  Jeffrey Ogbar, the Hip Hop head sporting a Phd, also provides an interesting take on rappers in the prison system.  From Rass Kass explaining why he went fugitive, to Big Lurch weighing in on those cannibalism rumors, there's a good bit of new material fans are treated to.


Rhyme & Punishment isn't as gritty as your average HBO documentary on criminal activities, but it's still insightful and entertaining. If you're a fan of crime and prison documentaries, you would definitely enjoy it.  You can watch the documentary on Netflix Instant, or copy the DVD online for the extras.








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