DVD: Hate Your Moms Loved The Videos
Label: Below Poverty Level Productions
Rating: 7 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Remember back in the golden days of Yo! MTV Raps? Back when Fab 5 Freddy used to roam the globe, mic in hand interviewing a different Hiphop heavy-hitter every week? Back when Ed Lover, Dr Dre, and T-Money used to hold it down in the NY studio every week with a unique brand of B-boy flavoured humour? Both shows were built around one vital ingredient that before then had been largely ignored by the MTV programmers – the Hiphop video. Both programs were dedicated to squeezing in as many of the top Hiphop videos of the day as they could, and quickly achieved cult status with some cats archiving the best videos onto their own tapes that they still have to this day.
For most of us however, we only have our flickering memories to remind us of the Halloween Ed Lover dance, Fab 5 getting slammed by Onyx, and all the dope Hiphop vids that went down in between. For the first two instances, you might wanna hit up some of those nerdy cats who did bust out their VCR religiously everyday to record each and every episode – however Below Poverty Level Productions hope that they got you covered on the third part.
Basically HYMLTV is a collection of some of the videos from that 90-94 era, with a few instantly recognisable (and downright classic) vids jockeying for position with some others that may just have slipped your memory. A nice idea, and one that if executed correctly could probably lead to a long running series, as this is the first Hiphop DVD that I know of that actually isn’t trying to pimp one artist or trying to make extra sales off a wack album.
However, a few things have to be pointed out at the very beginning. The picture quality is AWFUL, and the sound quality certainly ain’t gonna make a dent in your speakers either. Below Poverty Level Productions are certainly aptly named, because it looks like they did little but jack one of those Hiphop nerds I mentioned earlier for their Yo! MTV Raps VCR collections, and ran several off onto one DVD. Where’s the crystal clear sound and picture that DVD promises? Certainly not here, that’s for sure, as watching this is JUST like watching a 10 year old video tape – crackles, lines, and all! However if you’re prepared to keep it ghetto, you may be able to get past these two fairly major faults to discover that the video line up is actually pretty good.
Things begin with an exclusive live snippet of Redman performing ‘Time 4 Sum Akshun’ – worth watching due to the intervention of an unfortunate soundman, who while running on stage causes the record to skip with Reggie in mid-flow. End result – a nice combination of lefts and rights from Red, a soundman with a tapped jaw, and a mini riot on stage. Nice opener! From there things move onto the first video, which actually provides a somewhat confusing disc menu at the same time. As Red’s ‘Tonight’s Da Night’ plays in the background, the various other videos are superimposed over the top for you to make your choice. Yes, I suppose its better than blank screen – but it really does little to lift the “low-budget” feel of the whole thing.
Freestyle Fellowship kick things off with ‘Hot Potato’, a track that sees them pull an irritating second-rate Fu-Schnickens act to poor effect. Fu who? Exactly. Next up New Jersey’s Artifacts and their classic ‘Wrong Side Of The Tracks’ – an already hot track, complimented by an interesting video featuring Tame One and El Da Sensai throwing down amongst a backdrop of tunnel grafitti. Casual’s “That’s How It Is” follows – a track that I always had love for, although the video is pretty standard fare. As is the Coup’s ‘Dig It’, which immediately follows.
The next little sequence of videos however are really worthy of repeat viewing. Diamond D’s superb ‘Best Kept Secret’ shows some things that we’re really glad aren’t still happening today – orange, yellow, and red Cross Colors jumpsuits are played, while Diamond D in tight lycra shorts should really carry a government health warning. You’ll also get a giggle at the cameo from Anthony Mason – remember he used to think he had ball skills?
The Gravediggaz’ ‘Nowhere To Run’ is actually a video I haven’t seen before. Again its a case of a strong album track being complimented by a nice video, with Poetic, RZA, Prince Paul, and Fruitkwan spitting gems while chasing a frightened man through a foggy park.
Jeru’s ‘Can’t Stop The Prophet’ follows, showing two things – one, that whoever did the work on this video needs to be slapped – the illustrations and cartoons used throughout are cheesily horrific; and two, that Tha Damaja needs to get Primo on the phone again to handle his production. This song bangs!
And then… a DJ MF moment – a young trio called Black Moon, and their KRS sampling ‘How Many MCs?’ appear on screen. Again its another classic song with a dope video to match, notable mainly due to a youthful Buckshot repping his Nervous Records t-shirt with pride, and an acrobatic Evil Dee cutting up the Blastmaster’s phrase while doing a handstand.
We’re then treated to a little interlude – an old advert for St Ides malt liquor from 1993 that features a SICK DJ routine… before the infectious funk of Tha Liks’ ‘Daaamn’ fills the screen. Its typical Alkaholik fare – beer, women, and tight funky E-Swift grooves, combined with Tash and J-Ro’s rowdy flows.
Things stutter a little with the Saafir track ‘Light Sleepers’ – an average song with a “this is strangely out of place on here” video, before hotness is restored with the Lords Of The Underground’s ‘Funky Child’ vid. Notable for an addictive horn loop, a hyperactive DoItAll in diapers, and Mr Funkyman in a horrible afro wig, this is probably the video that garnered most sales of their “Here Come The Lords” debut in 1994.
From here to the end, the next choices are superb. Think of Kurious and you’d bet money that his underground hit ‘I’m Kurious’ would appear here… however its the infinitely more hardcore ‘Mansion And A Yacht’ that actually appears. Its a stormer of a track, with a video to match featuring ill deliveries from Jungle Brother Mike G, Sadat X, and a still-on-the-porcelain-throne Kurious. Next up is the perfect vid for the perfect song, as Nas narrates his letter to the jailed Cormega on “One Love”, as his words are illustrated in the background. Rounding things off is the trumpet heavy ‘Proof Is In The Pudding’, an underground hit for MadKapp around 8 years ago, the Troubleneck Brothers’ ‘Back To The Hiphop’ and the much-adored Common classic ‘I Use To Love H.E.R.’
And that’s your lot – as an archive of classic Hiphop vids, this compilation more than does its job. However with DVDs being a by-word for digital visual and audio perfection, the low-budget, jacked-from-tape feel and the lack of notable extras may put a lot of people off. As a budget DVD, this would be superb, but as a full (read: high) priced release, its difficult to wholeheartedly recommend it.