YouTube, specifically YouTube Red, will be streaming the collaborative rap movie effort from Eminem and (featuring) Dr. Dre. When I was writing this article I asked myself who would be interested in reading it. I ventured on to Rotten Tomatoes and found that of the 100 or so people who actually saw the movie, 93% liked it. Film critics gave it the same number, so whether you are a fan of rap music or not, this film apparently has something to say to its audience.
The storyline is that a graduate student gets obsessed with battle rap. For those unfamiliar with this music genre, it involves two people exchanging bragging, insults and boasting lyrics to see who can best the other. The movie is said to deal with many of today’s complex social and cultural problems with battle rap as the glue that holds the movie together. There is a balance of comedy and drama that rap listeners will be comfortable with, and according to one reviewer, “[director] Joseph Kahn resurrects a type of cinematic satire that isn’t afraid to expose society for what it’s become, cracking a few eggs and flipping so many birds in the process.”
Obviously viewers can expect a stream of profanity and the requisite social statements rap listeners have come to expect. As for the comedy, anyone in the profession can tell you that humor can be a very tricky business. The “exposing society” part of the one line review clearly depends if you agree with the premise that something is seriously wrong with the society from a Millennial’s viewpoint.
I did some basic research into who the rap audience is and found these statistics that should give you a good idea of what to expect:
- 2/3 of the audience is between the ages of 18-34
- 1/3 say they make it a point to watch a news show sometime during the week
- their purchasing power is more than $500 billion
- many in the rap audience have sports, drama, and music videos as their primary forms of entertainment
This movie may the future of entertainment in its purest form. Most people watch movies to escape reality or just to have fun. Eminem has recognized that the rap audience creates its own view of the world largely devoid of any connection to the real world, entering into it whenever necessary (such as making the money to spend on rap music) but generally preferring to remain in their rap infected world. The adage that “perception is reality” can definitely apply to rap listeners.
So if you are an un-rapped reader of this article, you may enjoy this movie if you are willing to tolerate the profanity-laced rap battles and want to see a different view of reality. From the critics and moviegoer reviews, the movie makes a statement about what is wrong with the world purely from an entertainment point of view. Do not expect any connection to the real world (yes, this sounds contradictory) because the real world is how rappers define it. Traditionally, movies often are a commentary on real world events or problems but Eminem has found a way to leave your real problems at the door for a couple of hours.
Please check your reality at the door – and don’t forget to get it back when you are done.