Artist: The Alkaholiks
DVD: XO The Movie Experience
Label: Fortress Entertainment
Rating: 9 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Hiphop and the movies have always been strange bedfellows. Despite the continuing appearances of rappers in movies, and movie soundtracks constantly containing several (if not, all) Hiphop cuts, its still a relatively new development. However the last 3-4 years have seen a veritable explosion in Hiphop-influenced flicks, most of them produced by an industry keen to blow up and exploit the “next big thing” – an industry that, to coin a phrase is “only out for a quick buck.”
Thankfully Fortress Entertainment seem to be in this for the long run, and instead of producing “cheesy boyz and girlz in the hood” movies, have invested time and money to link up with several influential West coast Hiphop acts to produce “behind the scenes” DVDs. This type of thing has already been tried before – but previous efforts like “The Show” and “Rhyme And Reason” suffered from a glut of grainy concert footage and some wooden interviews. They both tried TOO hard to capture the mood of what it was like to be a Hiphop performer, and despite the strong sales of the soundtracks, the films ultimately flopped. It seems that the heads at Fortress have taken this on board, and right from the start of this particular release, its clear that Tha Liks are totally at ease with being in front of (and at times, behind) the camera.
As the movie progresses, we’re treated to a mix of live footage, behind the scenes clowning, some exclusive freestyles, and sequences of the 3 Liks members visiting Fat Beats in LA and visting J-Ro’s grandma. Its a nice balance which serves to illustrate not only the high life as Hiphop performers with music, women and liquor, but the normal day-to-day living that we all have to go through. Even the humdrum has a twist of humour though , as J-Ro’s incredibly large pockets cause problems at the cash register in Fat Beats.
Music fans are served equally as well as the comedians – the energy of the crowds in the concert footage is enough to send chills up the spine. Heads should already know the strangely warped sense of humour and bugged behaviour that Tha Liks are famous for. Heads should also know that Tha Liks got some incredible tunes – beats that will make you go “DAMMMNN!” in fact. What heads probably aren’t aware of though is the amazing ability of these beats to make women get up out of their clothes. In scene after scene, at various spots around the country, we’re treated to a the sight of some mighty fine young ladies shaking everything that God has blessed them with, to vocal encouragment from not only Tha Liks, but the rest of the crowd. Another reason this won’t flop like “The Show”!
As previously mentioned, there’s also a lot of backstage and freestyle footage featuring Tha Liks and their extended fam. Defari, Kurupt and Phil Da Agony all pop up and drop some verses, and we’re all treated to the sights and sounds of Xzibit getting busy in the studio, writing and recording his verse for ‘Barcode’. Again, the beauty of these scenes is the fact that they catch the performers relaxed and off their guard – there’s no macho personas here at all. Everyone just seems to be about showing some skills, making some music, and having fun. And after all, isn’t that the basis of Hiphop?
Throw in the bonus footage of Tash’s directorial debut ‘Anotha Round’, a hilarious Liks rip-off of the Nike basketball commercial, and another couple of Liks performances – one a rehearsal with X to the Z for ‘Barcode’, and the fact that you can replay the movie with a drunken Liks commentary instead of the normal audio, and this all adds up to a DVD that is really worth having in your collection. With further releases in the pipeline from Kurupt and DJ Quik, and an Xzibit DVD already on the shelves, it looks like Fortress has a deserved headstart on the competition. Pick this up.