Movie: Fear Of A Black Hat

Niggaz With Hats: Booty Juice
Fear Of A Black Hat OST (Avatar, June 3, 1994)

“When is your butt at its most juiciest?”

Fear Of A Black Hat is what CB4 should have been – hip-hop/rap/mockumentary/social-political commentary/hypocrisy.

Below find excerpts of NYT’s: FILM; A Rap Movie Opens, and It's Only A Year Late by Michel Marriott, published: May 29, 1994:

"I always knew I would do something in entertainment," says Mr. Cundieff, a native of Pittsburgh, whose name, he has been told, is "Welsh or English for he who stands by the edge of the cliff and looks into the abyss."

What distinguishes Mr. Cundieff from many of his predecessors, Mr. McHenry said, is the political edge he brings to the work, without diluting its laughs.

"When Rusty does comedy, it's not just a silly, for-fun sort of thing," says Mr. McHenry, who with his partner George Jackson played cameo roles as concert promoters in "Black Hat." "He gives you double-entendres, a layering of messages and social commentary."

Behind a pair of deep-tinted eyeglasses and a curtain of finger-length braids, Mr.

"Fear of a Black Hat" cost less than $1 million to make and was inspired by Rob Reiner's "This Is Spinal Tap," a mock documentary released in 1984 about a fictitious heavy-metal rock group. Whereas "This Is Spinal Tap" has as its running joke the difficulty of finding a drummer (for some reason they spontaneously combust), "Fear of a Black Hat" shows the difficulty a rap group has finding a manager (for some reason they keep being shot).

After Mr. Cundieff finished writing the script for "House Party 2," he and Darin Scott, a producer of "Menace II Society," went to Las Vegas to relax. While there, the pair won $800 at the gambling tables.

They used $600 of that money and a borrowed video camera to shoot a 20-minute short film that was the embryonic "Fear of a Black Hat." The short persuaded a small independent movie company, ITC, to back the full-length film, Mr. Cundieff says. (Mr. Scott has the producer's credit on the feature.)

Mr. Cundieff wanted "Fear of a Black Hat" to reveal the petty, violent, misogynist and generally misguided inner workings of a fictitious rap group called N.W.H., short for Niggaz With Hats (a play on the hard-core rap group N.W.A.). Much of the fictional group's identity comes from wearing oversize hats that resemble the headgear in Dr. Seuss.

Audience response was "tremendous" at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, according to Geoffrey Gilmore, the festival's program director, who felt the film had crossover potential. But in the meantime, another film, "CB4," came along. It was also billed as a "rapumentary," and it had a larger budget and an actual star, Chris Rock, who is a regular on "Saturday Night Live." A deal to distribute "Fear of a Black Hat" was put in limbo. And "CB4" was released last spring. It bombed.

While much of the humor of "Fear of a Black Hat" is universal in its portrayal of greed, envy, jealousy, sexual insincerity and fear in a rap subtext, the same cannot be said of the film's colorful language. Here are definitions of some recurring terms and phrases used in the movie.

Audi, Audi 5000: Out of here. Example: "She'll be Audi 5000."

Bet: For sure. Example: "I'll be there. Bet!"

Bittin': Stealing or misappropriating someone else's idea or manner. Example: "Get your own style and stop bittin' mine."

Buggin': Acting out of sorts, agitated. Example: "Why are you buggin'?"

Bust a cap: To shoot someone. Example: "If you don't stop messing with me, I'll have to bust a cap in you."

Doggin': Being disrespectful. Example: "Why you doggin' me?"

Dope: Exceptionally good or fine. Example: "These are dope sneakers."

Fly: Same as above.

G: Short for gangster, used as an honorific. Example: "What's up, G?"

Kick that to the curb: Put something aside or halt a behavior. Example: "Stop asking me a lot of questions; you can kick that to the curb."

Phat: Fine, exceptional. Example: "They were playing a phat beat."

Props: Short for propers, as in giving someone deserved respect. Example: "He's getting his props."

Wack: Square, mundane, silly. Example: "Country music is wack."


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