Tuesday, August 28, 2007

YTT: Minnesotan/Laotian Rappers, Lao Crimino

While shopping around for a videographer to help me create a documentary on Chris Berg, of Tankride.com, I was introduced by a Current TV creative exec to Gabriel Cheifetz’s documentary on Laotian rap group, Lao Crimino. It's an awesome piece that resists the urge to exoticize what the individuals involved see as completely normal. Gabe's piece presents these guys having fun just as they are, “just people with ideas,” when as Dead Prez would have it, “the smoke and camera disappear.”

But it’s not really the camera, per se, that needs to disappear. In Gabe’s doc, they are just guys at home making dinner in Minnesota and rhyming. But in the video above, they have stepped out of their world and into the one that was created to promote rap, sexualized and sexualizing.

It’s when the MTV camera turns its eye on them, with its checkered history for both rappers and their music video honeys, that these guys transform into hip hop stars. They have to exploit and be exploited to make it. Because stars don’t sit in kitchens in the burbs of Minneapolis-St.Paul. They sit in clubs with women in bikinis sitting on their laps and a stack of cash in their hands. Fake it til you make it, commercially.

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