hip hop music

January 30, 2004

Shabba Doo Weeps

Is it really possible that the NY Times critic Dave Kehr never heard of breaking before, and thinks this movie is documenting a recent "development"?

A Hip-Hop Dance Team Duels Some Menacing White Boys

"May the dopest crew win!" proclaims the hip-hop star Lil' Kim somewhere near the welcome end of "You Got Served," which opens today nationwide. She is not referring to sailors on steroids, but to dueling hip-hop dance teams, one led by African-American teenagers from an unspecified Los Angeles neighborhood and the other by sinister-looking white boys from Orange County, who face off in an MTV dance contest at the climax of this modest programmer directed by Christopher B. Stokes.

The natural heir of 1960's dance-craze films like "Twist Around the Clock" (memorably parodied by John Waters in "Hairspray"), "You Got Served" showcases the latest development in street dance, which, much like rap music itself, seems to be a predominantly masculine affair.

With neighborhood crews battling one another for audience approval (and a hat full of money) in a hall that looks more like a boxing ring than a ballroom, "You Got Served" frequently recalls the muscular ballet style pioneered by Gene Kelly and Jerome Robbins — except that the pirouettes in this film are more likely to be performed by dancers spinning on their heads than on their toes.

Apart from a few token women in the chorus, the boys dominate the performances with cutting, slashing, robotic moves that evoke both Chinese martial arts films and Michael Jackson's undying moonwalk. The presentation is aggressive and confrontational, and the dancers perform without ever breaking their scowling, angry street faces...

Cmon dawg, even the pope knows what time it is!

Posted by jsmooth995 at January 30, 2004 5:03 PM

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