Forgive me, hip-hop world, but I have movies on the brain, which, frankly, isn’t out of the ordinary. Balancing my love of rap music and my obsession over cinema is a daily operation. So, it’s a no-brainer that my first blog this week is piggybacking off of last night’s 82nd Annual Academy Awards. I’m actually writing this as the broadcast is playing in front of me. A few minutes ago, Mark Boal’s The Hurt Locker script beat out my personal favorite, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, for Best Original Screenplay, so I’m a bit salty. Can’t win them all, I suppose.
One of the ceremony’s multiple nominees is Jason Reitman’s hits-home Up in the Air, starring George Clooney. For whatever reason, the pre-show red carpet interviews with Clooney and co-stars Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga reminded me of a recent mixtape cover I came across on NahRight for Wichita, KS-born newcomer XV. The tape is called 30 Minute Layover, and its cover is the Up in the Air poster, remixed.
Here’s the thing: I completely understand why rappers are quick to use popular film posters as mixtape covers, and, often, the names of said films for the tapes’ title. There’s the immediate association (“Oh, I’ve heard of that movie—this tape must be good.”) and the already-designed cover image. Mix in a little basic Photoshop and you’re good to go. It makes perfect sense.
There’s also a certain amount of laziness at play, no? I think so. It’s the visual equivalent of a DJ Khaled album track list, plastered with words such as “hood,” “rep,” and “money.” The byproduct of a no-more-than-five-minute thought process, with easily digestible results.
I’m sure it’s my somewhat film-snobbish side, but, whenever I see one of these movie-inspired mixtapes, one sentence comes to mind: “I bet you they’ve never even see the actual film.” I then dream up a series of trivia questions that I’d love to fire the rapper’s way. The most infuriating recent offender, DJ Drama and OJ Da Juiceman’s A Clockwork Orange-biting Orange tape, deserves a SAT-sized quiz. That 1971 Stanley Kubrick masterwork is my favorite movie of all time, so seeing it plundered by the Juuman was an impetus for uncontrollable cringing.
Here are abridged quizzes for five examples of this trend. The questions are what I’d hit the rapper-dudes with if given the chance. These are the simple, elementary-level versions; it wouldn’t be fair to really go in, so to speak. And, to be clear, I’d welcome perfect scores. I’m sure a couple of these folks have actually seen the respective movies. At least I’d hope.
XV – 30 Minute Layover
1) One of rap’s most shameless one-hit wonders makes a cameo in Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, even performing his trademark song. Name that forgotten rapper.
Drag-On & DJ Self – The Crazies
1) Last month’s The Crazies was a remake of a 1973 film. Who wrote and directed the original film?
DJ Drama & OJ Da Juiceman – Orange
1) Where does the opening scene of Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film take place?
2) Who wrote the original 1962 novel?
3) One of the segments in Rusty Cundieff’s 1995 horror anthology Tales from the Hood directly references a pivotal sequence from Kubrick’s film. Which segment is it?
4) What classic Gene Kelly song is prominently heard in Kubrick’s film?
Max B & Big Mike – Quarantine
1) 2008’s Quarantine is a remake of which 2007 Spanish film?
Soulja Boy, hosted by DJ Woogie & DJ Neptune – Paranormal Activity (points awarded to Soulja Boy for not jacking the film’s poster)
1) A legendary director, and Hollywood icon, was reportedly so scared after watching a Paranormal Activity screener DVD that he swore the film itself was haunted. Name that petrified visionary.
Oh, you thought I was going to give y’all the answers, too? Think again, smart guys. I’m testing y’all, as well. Give the quiz your best shot. —Matt Barone