Hip Hop has and will always be an important part of Black culture. It’s something from its creation that was “for us, by us,” and is a big reason we take who dabbles in our art so serious. But there was something about “90s era” hip hop that will always hold a special place for those of us who were young adults around that time.
When the west coast was dominating the radio with the “gangster rap” sound, the east coast, where rap began and was on top for years, was struggling for the first time to find something that could compete with the likes of NWA, Too Short, and Ice T. Eventually talent started to rise from the “forgotten boroughs” like Staten Island and Red Hook.
Risen: The Story of Chron “Hell Razah” Smith, by writer/director Frank Meyer is the story of neighborhood hero and up and coming hip hop star Chron Smith, aka Hell Razah. Smith was the standout member of the Wu-Tang affiliated rap group, “Sunz of Man” who along with Smith consisted of The 60 Second Assassin, Prodigal Sunn, Shabazz The Disciple, and Killah Priest.
“…the story of neighborhood hero and up and coming hip hop star Chron Smith…”
After the Wu-Tang clan exploded on the scene back in 1993, there was a push to get other local acts in the studio. Being childhood friends with the O’l Dirty Bastard of the Wu-Tang Clan, Sunz of Man member the 60 Second Assassin, was instrumental in getting the group signed. But everyone knew that Hell Razah was the real star. His stage presence and lyrical skill was unmatched, and it was obvious to everyone around him that he was going break out.
The Sunz of Man had released their first album to mild success, but what they couldn’t see was the financial disaster that was heading their way. The label that they were signed to declared bankruptcy not to long after their album hit the stores and left the Sunz of Man questioning what was next for them. But the group didn’t let that stop them. They locked themselves in the studio and hustled to position themselves for a big comeback.
Unfortunately Smith never got to see that big comeback.
"…Risen isn't a hip hop story, it's a human story."