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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Relevant messages on racism, poverty, crime, and policing in communities of color.
Positive Role Models
Legendary hip-hop performers discuss their lives, music, and society, often with messages still relevant to today's world.
This 1997 documentary profiles many now-legendary hip-hop performers as they reflect on their music, careers, and backgrounds, and discuss the challenges they faced while growing up in communities of color.
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Violence & Scariness
Interviewee discusses getting shot and confined to a wheelchair for 18 months. Talk of crime and violence in communities of color throughout the movie.
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Frequent profanity. "F--k," "motherf--ker," and the "N" word often used. Also: "a--hole," "bulls--t," "s--t," "pisses," "bitch," "damn," "hell." Middle finger gesture.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Marijuana smoking, talk of marijuana smoking. Malt liquor drinking. Cocktail drinking. Talk of mescaline, PCP.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rhyme & Reason is a 1997 documentary on hip-hop music, its artists, and its culture. Expect a lot of profanity, including "f--k," "motherf--ker," and the "N" word. Brief moments of some performers smoking marijuana. Talk of marijuana, and also talk of harder drugs like mescaline and PCP. Cocktail and malt liquor drinking. An interviewee discusses getting shot, and how he was confined to a wheelchair for 18 months. Interviewees talk of where they live, and what it was like to grow up poor in a community of color. While the movie is definitely relevant in that many of the artists being interviewed remain popular, if not iconic, it's also sadly relevant in how the interviewees talk about institutional racism, the racism they have experienced, and the fraught relationship between the police and their communities. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is an interesting capsule of a time and place that's still relevant in both good and bad ways. Rhyme & Reason is a documentary on hip-hop artists from 1997 that interviews many now-legends who were in the prime of their careers, as well as some who died much too soon. It's a fascinating time in that hip-hop had clearly moved beyond the "fad" some had predicted it to be when rap first emerged on the national stage with acts like Run DMC in the 1980s, and had, like punk around the same time, become an industry and culture unto itself that still had "street cred" even as it was becoming a multi-billion-dollar global phenomenon. Success, and not entirely expected success, is also a topic that comes up with some of the more successful artists, as they talk of loyalty to where they're from while having the financial freedom to live wherever they please.
As said above, it's also sadly relevant in other ways. Institutional racism, racism directly experienced, gun violence, crime, the strained relations between communities of color and the police -- these topics come up time and time again in the documentary, topics obviously still discussed so many years later in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing and the Black Lives Matter movement. Rhyme & Reason manages to cover a lot of ground and interview a wide array of artists in a little over 90 minutes, and while perhaps some of it isn't saying anything new that hip-hop fans don't already know, it's still a solid documentation of the state of hip-hop on the verge of the turn of the 20th century.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.