(On TV, April 1999) Everyone is forever marked by the music of their teen years and as luck had it, I ended up being fifteen in 1990. Which probably helps a lot to appreciate Fear Of A Black Hat, an absolutely riotous (!) mock-documentary about the rise, fall, breakup and reunion of a black gangsta-type rap group. Skewering targets from Vanilla Ice, M.C. Hammer, Salt-n-Pepa (and, retroactively, the Spice Girls!), C&C Music Factory, etc… Fear Of A Black Hat is nothing short of hilarious. The best parts of the movies are undoubtedly the mock MTV videos. Though weak in its latter third and making an inconsistent use of the documentary approach, Fear Of A Black Hat is one of the funniest films I’ve seen recently and most assuredly one of the top musical comedies of the nineties. Do yourself a favor and look for this one.
(Second viewing, On DVD, July 2006) Everyone’s got their own little favourite films, and this is one of mine. A rap mockumentary solidly modelled after the classic Spinal Tap, this takes on the rap industry of the early nineties. Like Spinal Tap, it’s a lost less funny now after fifteen year’s worth of self-parodying hip-hop… but it’s still worth a look. Good music, fast jokes, clever writing and loose acting make this a treat for everyone, though fans of old-school rap will get a lot more out of it. The long-awaited DVD release offers a bunch of extras, some of which are fantastic (don’t miss writer/director Rusty Cundieff’s absorbing audio commentary, or the compilation of music videos from the film) and some of which are lame (you could miss the “reunion” audio interviews, at least if it wasn’t for the cute interviewer). Fans of the film will be pleased by the DVD; I certainly was, and my expectations were high.