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Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme (2000)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 754

My Rating

Movie Info

The pioneers and current purveyors of the vibrant art of freestyle hip-hop mingle in this hour-long documentary about the origins and future of the style. Shot in New York City, L.A., and San Francisco, Freestyle alternates between informed commentary -- by rap stalwarts such as The Last Poets, Mos Def, Supernatural, and Cut Chemist -- and impromptu vocal performances. Throughout, the filmmakers trace the social consciousness of the genre and suggest that it may be making a comeback. Director

May 24, 2005

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (2) | DVD (10)

The film's conventions have become hip-hop doc clichés.

September 24, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The skills on display in Freestyle are too varied and idiosyncratic for one movie to contain, but this one at least offers a heady, rousing education in an art form that is too often misunderstood.

July 26, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even if you have no previous interest in or extensive knowledge of hip-hop, Freestyle will draw you in, accomplishing that rare feat of making the creative process interesting while also telling a story.

July 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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A thoughtful overview of a major musical movement, from its churchy roots to its urban present, from its aggressive front to its spiritual underpinnings.

July 21, 2004 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
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An engaged and knowing look at the underground world of improvised rap, concentrating on artists less interested in commercial success and cutting records than in the 'spontaneous right now' of 'nonconceptual rhyme.'

July 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dispels myths about the 'gangsta' aura that clings to rap and shows this poetry of the streets in all its different forms: social protest, entertainment and aggression.

July 16, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

there's too little evidence that freestyling in itself deserves even the short 75 minutes allotted for this film

May 6, 2005 Full Review Source:

Watching some of the best freestylers riff like Charlie Parkers with thesauruses is often breathtaking.

September 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

The only downside of watching the movie? The rhythm gets you, and you're likely not going to want to sit still in your seat.

July 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Los Angeles CityBeat

Very innovative chronicle of a notable culture.

July 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Not since the groundbreaking Wild Style has there been a hip-hop film this exciting to watch.

July 23, 2004 Full Review Source: E! Online
E! Online

Impromtu energy.

July 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Compuserve

Where 2001's Scratch focused on 'turntablism' and the art of the DJ, Kevin Fitzgerald's brief but engaging documentary takes a look at those who do the actual rapping -- the MCs

July 16, 2004 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Makes for an interesting close-up on an art form whose intricacies could all too easily go unnoticed.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Ebullient hip-hop documentary.

January 21, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Audience Reviews for Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme

The first full movie that I've seen on YouTube! It's a very good and thoughtful overview of what makes freestyle rhyming a true artform. Has some good footage of battles, flow sessions, and cyphers, and gives an interesting history as to how it all started. It doesn't really offer any new insight into technique, it's more of a history and overview targeted mostly at people who don't really know what freestyle rhyming is. I selfishly would have liked to see more footage of well-known artists back in their freestyle days, just because it would have held my attention better. But it does show some great sessions from MC Juice, Mos Def, and others. Check it out, the whole documentary is on YouTube.
November 12, 2007
Jared H

Super Reviewer

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