In the 1954 Cahiers du Cinéma essay “Une certaine tendance du cinéma français,” François Truffaut proposed what came to be known as “the auteur theory”: Films should be direct expressions of the filmmakers, and directors should be the “authors” of their movies. It’s an idea that holds a lot of sway in the hip-hop community, apparently. How else do you explain the endless string of vaguely autobiographical direct-to-video movies starring, and largely directed and written by, famous rappers? The latest is 50 Cent’s Before I Self Destruct, released last week along with his album of the same name; like many of its peers, it’s low budget, hyperviolent, clichéd — and strangely alluring. Click through to find out why.
Auteur: Master P
Master P actually has ten features under his belt. Along with his classic debut I’m Bout It
, Hot Boyz
is a career highlight: Not only do the production values blow away the rest of these movies, but the film stars No Limit soldiers C-Murder, Mystikal, Snoop Dogg (before he left the label), and Silkk Tha Shocker as a rapper who teams up with a corrupt cop (Gary Busey) to save his wrongfully accused girlfriend. Also on hand is honorary No Limit soldier C. Thomas Howell.
Features either The Wire
’s Michael K. “Omar” Williams or Hassan “Wee-Bey” Johnson? No.
This isn’t really one rapper’s vision, but we’ll make an exception for it because it’s the rare DIY hip-hop movie that dares to go genre: Urban Menace stars Snoop Dogg as a murderous undead preacher seeking revenge against drug lords Fat Joe and Big Pun. Zombie Snoop! Aren’t you glad you read all the way through?
Features either The Wire’s Michael K. “Omar” Williams or Hassan “Wee-Bey” Johnson? No.