The Hip Hop Project - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hip Hop Project Reviews

Top Critic
John Anderson
Variety
July 22, 2008
It makes the viewer uncomfortable, too -- but it's unquestionably honest, like so much of Hip-Hop.
Top Critic
Jeannette Catsoulis
New York Times
May 14, 2007
Top Critic
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
May 12, 2007
A big, wet, sloppy valentine to hip-hop's power to give voice to the voiceless.
Full Review | Original Score: b
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Ted Fry
Seattle Times
May 11, 2007
First-time director Matt Ruskin is a skilled documentarian; he releases information gradually so the narrative develops in an organic fashion that is consistently engaging.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
May 11, 2007
The film meanders, sidetracks, and frustrates -- few of the rap songs, some of them boasting wildly inspired couplets, are shown and heard in their entirety.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
May 11, 2007
Dramatically, the movie lacks motion -- the kids don't seem a lot better off at the end -- and the point of the program escapes me. These kids badly need an education.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
May 11, 2007
[Director] Ruskin is so awed by his subject that he never gains the distance needed to create a bigger, more powerful picture.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Mark Olsen
Los Angeles Times
May 11, 2007
Will the music of The Hip Hop Project album change your life? Likely, no. Did the process of making it change the lives of those involved in its creation? Undoubtedly. And that, perhaps, is inspiration enough.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Adam Graham
Detroit News
May 11, 2007
There is some inspired camera work during some of the performance sequences, but none of the performances themselves stick. It's a shame when a film about the power of music doesn't contain one memorable song.
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John Monaghan
Detroit Free Press
May 11, 2007
The live performances sizzle. Expect genuine passion behind the music, even when you wonder, as an MTV interviewer does during the film, whether these kids are that much more captivating than a million other hip-hop hopefuls.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jim DeRogatis
Chicago Sun-Times
May 11, 2007
All of this is related in a well-meaning, would-be uplifting but ultimately ham-handed manner somewhere between a PBS documentary and a TV movie of the week.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Michelle Kung
Boston Globe
May 11, 2007
In fact, it is the tyro director's slapdash structure and pacing that distract from the film's content. A rather haphazard architect of his own material, Ruskin tends to rush certain crucial developments while lingering on more lackluster details.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Mike Wolf
Time Out
May 10, 2007
Despite a jumpy narrative, the film works because Kazi speaks to the kids on their level but from a slight elevation, and the honesty and raw emotion he draws out of them come through.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/6
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
May 10, 2007
The commercial pressure that is often brought to bear on rappers to be scurrilous and offensive. This project, which was produced by Bruce Willis and Queen Latifah, shows that there is another way.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Jessica Grose
L.A. Weekly
May 10, 2007
This is a story you've heard before: Inner-city kids falling to drugs/crime/pregnancy are saved by the power of music/dance/art. Don't let that premise dissuade you from checking out this documentary.
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Chicago Reader
May 10, 2007
In a nation that's stripped arts instruction from the public schools, the Hip Hop Project seems like a godsend.
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
May 10, 2007
The film works best when it pays specific attention to how hard it is to write a rhyme worth hearing.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Teresa Wiltz
Washington Post
May 10, 2007
There's not enough story to the story, which is curious, given that rap is ultimately a tale-telling medium.
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
May 10, 2007
The Hip Hop Project has a good heart and more than a little trouble organizing its thoughts.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Jessica Grose
Village Voice
May 8, 2007
The most impressive accomplishment of Project is not the student-made album, but that when Kazi says cheesy things like 'This is healing through hip-hop,' you actually believe him.