The Hip Hop Project
The Hip Hop Project (2006)

Chris Rolle was born into poverty in the Bahamas and found himself forced to fend for himself as a child when he was abandoned by his mother. Rolle came to America in his teens but soon found himself homeless on the mean streets of… More

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Rated: PG-13
Running Time:
Release Date: April 27, 2006
DVD Release Date: January 5, 2010
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Critic Score: 58% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Director Matt Ruskin's enthusiasm for the project is readily apparent, but his film is unfocused, meandering, and frustrating to watch.

John Anderson

It makes the viewer uncomfortable, too -- but it's unquestionably honest, like so much of Hip-Hop.

Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer

The film meanders, sidetracks, and frustrates -- few of the rap songs, some of them boasting wildly inspired couplets, are shown and heard in their entirety.

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Tom Meek
Boston Phoenix

Rolle's passion and perseverance power the film, and along the way he gets a boost from rap mogul Russell Simmons and Bruce Willis.

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Nathan Rabin
AV Club

A big, wet, sloppy valentine to hip-hop's power to give voice to the voiceless.

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Kyle Smith
New York Post

Dramatically, the movie lacks motion -- the kids don't seem a lot better off at the end -- and the point of the program escapes me. These kids badly need an education.

Christopher Campbell

[A] powerful and, if we're lucky, influential documentary.

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Ted Fry
Seattle Times

First-time director Matt Ruskin is a skilled documentarian; he releases information gradually so the narrative develops in an organic fashion that is consistently engaging.

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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News

[Director] Ruskin is so awed by his subject that he never gains the distance needed to create a bigger, more powerful picture.

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John P. McCarthy
Boxoffice Magazine

Based on what we hear, though, it's hard to assess whether anyone has any breakthrough potential. Likewise, there's nothing remarkable about the filmmaking.

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