This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


Britain gets ready for rapsploitation.

Britain gets ready for rapsploitation. (photo)

Posted by on

Unlike the US — where the ghetto issue movie has for years been its own subgenre — the UK only recently got with the program. Friday sees the release of the UK’s first hip-hop musical, “1 Day,” which shows how quickly their film industry is adapting to the inner-city turf it previously ignored. In 2004, there was the pioneering “Bullet Boy,” followed soon by “Kidulthood” and its follow-up “Adulthood.” Watching the trailers in chronological order, the amount of moralizing and ominous music goes way down: the number of gunshots, hoodies being pulled over ominously and aggressive rap numbers goes way up.

1991’s “Boyz N The Hood” was the protoypical American “increase the peace” film, when hip-hop soundtracks were the backdrop to stories detailing the need for an end to inner-city violence. This went on for a while (“Menace II Society,” “New Jack City” et al.), until the soundtrack became the subject. As Nathan Rabin notes, “Master P’s incomprehensible 1997 film I’m ‘Bout It unofficially launched the genre of rapsploitation, serving as the first of many low-budget exploitation films written, directed, acted, and/or produced by rappers.”

As the “hood life” genre faded into theatrical obscurity — the euphemistic “urban audience” preferring goofy stoner comedies and stuff with Ice Cube and/or Tyler Perry — it found new, mutated life in movies where rappers dramatizing their hard-ass recording personas in unambiguously reprehensible (yet inexplicably self-regarding) form. The pattern is simple and unchanging: man who aspires to higher things sells drugs, puts rap career on hold, everything ends with an over-the-top shoot-out. Collating these movies would take at least a thesis: the most notable examples include Roc-A-Fella’s “State Property” and Cam’ron’s atrocious “Killa Season,” a movie I’ve seen four times and whose ineptitude never ceases to amaze me.

Britain’s hip-hop scene is arguably coming of commercial rap age: see, for example, Dizzee Rascal, who went from being critically acclaimed to knocking Jay-Z off the top of the charts for one week with his latest album. “1 Day” ‘s intentions are noble; it’s directed by 59-year-old Penny Woolcock, who likes to say things like “Hip-hop and grime are an authentic expression of street life. It’s the way people tell their stories – like the spirituals and the blues for earlier generations.”

But it’s already being blasted by politicians for glamorizing violence: true for any film with no explicit “increase the peace” message, sure, but I see no reason to doubt that movies with worse intentions and more violence are on the way. The same way seemingly every major American rapper seemingly has to have a crudely filmed self-dramatization in which violence and drug-dealing are facilely explained away on the grounds of social oppression, the need to support family and so on, I suspect the UK will be getting the same very soon.

[Photo: “1 Day,” Blast! Films, 2009]

Watch More

Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

Watch More

A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

Watch More

WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

Posted by on

Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

Watch More