This Is the Life

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Movie Info

Explore the origins of contemporary hip-hop as filmmaker Ava DuVernay takes viewers back to 1989, when a group of L.A. teenagers made it their mission to expand the musical boundaries of hip-hop. Every week, the teens would gather in a local health food store called "The Good Life." United by their love of hip-hop, the creative adolescents began experimenting with new rhyme patterns, melodic concepts, and lyrical styles in order to keep their music fresh. Twenty years later, their innovations would be used by some of the biggest stars on the hip-hop scene. So why is it that the very people who helped to push hip-hop in such exciting new directions now languish in obscurity, while their innovations have made millions for the recording industry? Much like the jazz heroes of yesteryear, these tireless street poets have gained a global cult following that stretches from Germany to England and Japan. In this film, viewers are invited to ponder the many obstacles to commercial success by witnessing the rise and fall of a remarkable, and truly gifted family of artists.

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Critic Reviews for This Is the Life

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (2)

  • A sharp, thoroughly enjoyable exploration of seminal South Los Angeles hip-hop hotspot the Good Life Cafe.

    Mar 13, 2009 | Full Review…

    Andrew Barker

    Top Critic
  • It's rare that being schooled so deeply is so pleasurable.

    Mar 12, 2009 | Full Review…
  • There's a slew of unmissable films at this year's DOXA, and this insanely inspiring effort is easily one of them.

    Aug 25, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Some serious props are in order for Ava Duvernay for making this overdue tribute to a generation of gifted youngsters from L.A. whose seminal contributions to hip-hop deserve to be acknowledged, albeit belatedly.

    Feb 28, 2009 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for This Is the Life

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