Watched January 10, 2016
Starring: Mario Van Peebles, Eriq La Salle, Tazia Valenza, Leo O'Brien
I just watched the documentary Electric Boogaloo about the Cannon production company, and forgot that I had added Rappin' to my netflix dvd queue a long time ago. Breakin' pretty much sums up how the Cannon system worked: get an idea that people are excited about, sell it based on a poster, not a script, then make up the movie as you shoot it.
Rappin' came out after Breakin' but is trying to capitalize on the same movement. John "Rappin'" Hood (Mario Van Peebles) is just out of jail for something and he comes back to his old neighborhood, which is very run down. He lives with his grandma and his younger brother Allan (Leo O'Brien), who at first seems like a very good kid, but it will come out of nowhere that he has some problems. At the local dance club John runs into the main white asshole, Duane (Charlie Flohe) who is dating Dixie (Tazia Valenza), a girl that John likes but never officially dated. I don't know why Duane hates John but he makes it very clear he is not happy that John is back in the neighborhood.
An evil developer, is trying to push everyone out of the neighborhood so he build something more profitable, I can't remember exactly what. The developer sends his lackey to try to evict everyone, plus he gets the heat turned off which seems super illegal to the tenants.
Dixie is an assistant at a local recording studio. With her boss they hold an audition for local rap talent. Dixie really thinks John has some talent, so they get him to audition and he's supposedly really great. He has been rappin' all throughout the movie but it's pretty raw, but I guess he's got a lot of talent.
Out of nowhere, Allan steals the stereo of the lackey trying to evict everyone and sells it to the local shady pawn guy. John doesn't want his brother to end up in juvenile detention so he tells the lackey says he'll get the stereo back, so the lackey won't press charges. The lackey then pays the evil white gang, lead by Duane a bunch of money to threaten everyone in the neighborhood to leave.
John is so talented that the music producer pays him to come audition. John needs the money to buy the stereo from the pawn shop. By the time he gets back to the pawn shop, the stereo is gone and Allan is already in juvenile detention. John threatens the lackey, who didn't get Allan arrested, it was actually Duane. John figures out what has Duane is behind all the neighborhood intimidation so their gangs get into a fight. John and his friends win, and somehow the developer isn't able to take over the neighborhood, again the details don't make a ton of sense in a movie that is mostly just a vehicle to have some rap songs.
The end credits are the best because everyone raps, and I mean everyone including Dixie. There is a crazy scene where the local slutty lady pretends to seduce the oil truck driver while John and his friends steal it and give heating oil to all their neighbors. One of John's friends works in a produce warehouse which is just an opportunity for John's gang to rap about their fat friend Fats having a snack attack. The rapping is terrible even if Ice-T is in it. The plot doesn't make much sense, if that isn't obvious by how many details I've quickly forgotten. The outfits are pretty cool though, Dixie wears some giant sweaters.