By Roy Kasten
By Kris Wernowsky
By Chaz Kangas
By Joseph Hess
By Julie Seabaugh
By Mike Appelstein
By Rachel Brodsky
By Kelsey McClure
Owing to a press-release mix-up, "A to Z" incorrectly reported in a recent column ("Close Calls," June 21) that the big-screen debut of Welcome to Soul City: A Hip-Hop Odyssey was June 28. The film will be shown Wednesday, July 26, at 7 p.m. at the Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-995-6270) as part of the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase. If you're into philosophy-heavy rap documentaries, it's worth checking out. Featuring a who's-who of local conscious rappers (Tef Poe, Kash and Black Spade), the film at times devolves into predictable disses of sell-outs, gangstas and record execs. But the bitchfest is tempered by guys such as emcee Ace Boogey, who says in the flick: "A lot of cats are too busy comparing themselves to mainstream artists or trying to go against the mainstream so much that they put themselves in this little box. When you compare yourself, or you distance yourself, you limit yourself." (Additional props to Ace for sporting a dope, '80s-era Minnesota Twins ballcap.)
Filmed on mini-DV, the footage is crisp and the editing is sharp. Thirty-one-year-old E. Dante Hinkle, a Florissant resident who works at a Verizon Wireless call center, put the film together using footage gathered over the past four years.
"I wanted to give the world a taste for the music that's going around in this city, outside of what you're used to seeing on TV," Hinkle says. "This is not a diss, because I know these individuals, but coverage is usually just limited to people trying to sound like Nelly and Chingy. I wanted to let folks know that there's a lot more talented folks in this city."
Highlights include a eulogy to late Bits 'N Pieces emcee Katt Davis in the form of a freestyle jam filmed in 2002 in front of Vintage Vinyl and producer Vandalyzm calling out rappers who say they can't afford to pay for beats. "Cats are like, 'You're hot, you're fire,'" he says in the film. "I'm like, 'Cool, I'm not charging that much, my price is pretty cheap.' [They say,] 'Uh, man, I ain't got it.' Thing is, this motherfucker's on the song talking about how much dope he deal, or how big his rims is on his car."
You can also buy the film's soundtrack at Vintage Vinyl. Ben Westhoff