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Rap Biopic – Goes Global (ft. Bushido).

Rap Biopic – Goes Global (ft. Bushido). (photo)

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Here in the states, “Avatar” was finally stricken from the top of the charts by “Dear John,” equally gooey but less dragon-tastic. But in Germany, Cameron’s film was done in by “Times Are Changing,” a biopic of rapper Bushido. Bushido, in case you’ve not been keeping up on your German hip-hop, is a relatively controversial guy, whose lyrics once proposed “we’ll take every faggot and beat him up” and (equal opportunity!) “Just because you’re a woman, doesn’t mean I won’t beat you till you’re blue.”

There are questions of whether the formerly vile Bushido is now really reformed or just cannily marketing himself to appeal to the “bourgeouis press” (as Rolling Stone‘s German editor put its). But that’s beside the point — like Eminem before him, Bushido is running from hip-hop success to mainstream cinematic glory, which (somehow) legitimizes his lyrics as self-expression, as long as he plays nice with the press.

For all the talk bandied around for at least the last 20 years about how hip-hop represents the present and/or the future better than any other musical movement, hip-hop biopics/movies have been few and far between. When they’ve been made, they’ve invariably been helmed by older white males: Curtis Hanson (57 at the time of “8 Mile”), Jim Sheridan (56 for “Get Rich or Die Tryin'”), David Kellogg (a commercials/music video/Playboy video director who was 39 when he made “Cool As Ice”). Even the African-American George Tillman Jr. was 40 by the time “Notorious” came out.

02102010_8mile.jpgThere are surprisingly few hip-hop musicals to point towards, much less hip-hop biopics. The few movies made about rappers have been about commercially massive figures with large white-black crossover fanbases, successful over multiple albums rather than one-hit wonders. Somehow this is considered a safer bet than “Nine.” Those who don’t fit that description can go the rapsploitation route if they’re impatient.

Bushido’s biopic will almost certainly not be seen here (Edel, by the way, is 63), but that doesn’t really matter. What it means is that at those rare moments when a rapper, through whatever confluence of circumstances, can touch a nerve — political, commercial or both — in a country, he’ll get the biopic he deserves, in all probability one designed to clean up his image. With hip-hop’s current status and lasting influence very much up for debate, it’s worth remembering that what the U.S. started isn’t over by a long mile. Globally, it might just have begun to percolate in movies — ones whose issues and celebrities are presumably too local to translate, but might be even more enlightening for that.

[Photos: “Times Are Changing,” Constantin Film, 2010; “8 Mile,” Universal, 2002]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

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

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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