THE GREAT HIP HOP HOAX FILM REVIEW

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THE GREAT HIP HOP HOAX FILM REVIEW

By Karlie Simmonds

Our film blogger Karlie shares her review of The Great Hip Hop Hoax, which she saw at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

I missed the press screenings for The Great Hip Hop Hoax but I’d heard such good things about it, I bought a few tickets for my friends and I to go along. Directed by Jeanie Finlay, The Great Hip Hop Hoax tells the story of two Californian rappers, Sillibil and Brains, who travelled across the pond to London to ‘make it’. With their talent, good looks and larger than life personalities, record companies were soon fighting over them. They had the world at their feet, except for one tiny, little, mildly significant detail. They were actually two regular guys from Dundee who had never even been to the USA. 

Sillibil N Brains, AKA Billy Boyd and Gavin Bain were becoming increasingly disillusioned about being laughed at as Scottish rappers, so they created these two Californian characters, made a pact to see it through to the end, and with hope and determination they headed south to prove everyone wrong.

It’s a film that has to be seen to be believed; it’s riotous, laugh-out-loud funny but also thought-provoking. It asks the question - can you beat the system?  The answer lies in entrepreneurial Gavin Bain, aka Brains, who dreamed up the whole scheme. 

The film is made up of present day interviews and real time, real life footage from 2004, when they were setting London-town alight. It’s so captivating and inspiring. I can imagine many a young musician watching this film and heading towards the road to success with hope in his heart. I was lucky enough to meet Gavin Bain after the screening. He’s a down-to-earth guy, still hungry for success, and still hopeful. ‘Despite not making it big then, we are still on the right path’ he said philosophically, adding with a smile, ‘It all worked out in the end’ .

I was also lucky enough to watch them perform at a special EIFF gig. I was witness to something that’s a recurring theme throughout the film - these guys ARE talented.  The word ‘hoax’ in the title could fool you into thinking they are a scam, which doesn’t do them justice. The songs are catchy, and they have a passion and drive to entertain. I wouldn’t be surprised if, after September when the film is released, we see more of them. If they got that far, surely they could take on the world? It wasn’t hard to buy into the magic that enchanted so many record executives. 

In the early 90’s I was highly impressed by hip hop and having a zillion (5) brothers it was hard to ignore NWA , Public Enemy, Run DMC and suchlike being blared out among the teenage angst. I vividly remember the Beastie Boys and our shock that white guys could rap.  ‘The Great Hip Hop Hoax’ epitomised a lot of my youthful optimism and I think it was of little surprise to anyone at how quickly I embraced the whole rap culture during this year’s film festival. On leaving the screening I longed to wear a cap to the side and pull my jeans below my waist. I cursed myself for not carrying an emergency pair of High-tops. However, I will be ready when September comes!

http://iamkarlie.com/

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