Less a traditional biography short film about hip hop legend Rakim, Words by Rakim utilizes just that, audio from Rakim himself, whether it be lyrics, performances or interview excerpts, to paint a picture about the artist. With his music getting a remix treatment as the imagery matches or expands upon his lyrics and thoughts, the film remains engrossing throughout its very short running time. Imagine a music video for a person’s day-to-day life, rather than to sell a new single, and you’ve got an idea of what we’ve got here.
The gorgeous black and white imagery, the splitting of elements into Sides A and B and the score all create an absorbing, hypnotic experience. And I’d love to see more pieces like this. Again, not a traditional history of the artist, but instead a stylish examination.
For the filmmakers, you could run and make a few more with and about Rakim, or you could work your way through a list of other hip hop luminaries; a different style for a different artist. I’d be on board regardless. A remix on Rakim, a remix of short format documentaries and all around an original, entertaining piece of cinematic art.
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