Still don't know your DMX from your Jay-Z? Redman, Method Man, Superman--it's all the same? Then check this educating Backstage documentary about the larger-than-life 1999 Hard-Knock Life Tour (at the time, the most successful hip-hop tour ever). Captured here with a fine polish similar to the arena-sized venture itself, which nonviolently combined rap crews, the film expertly jumps from one extreme to another.
One minute it's footage of rap superstars working the crowd by flying, all Backstreet Boys-like, on cables. The next, it's label exec Damon Dash bitching people out over a logo discrepancy on some tour jackets. And in between, it's the women, the weed and the cash. But the film's steady eye also takes care to detail the artists' often-overlooked hard work, tour fatigue and pressure to stay on top. Keepin' it real never felt so, um, real.
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