Review: Before I Self Destruct & Two Turntables & A Microphone

While everyone is excited about 50’s return to the hard core with his new album. (Cant front. The joint is MEAN. You NEED that), I’m excited about the goodies that go with it. Included with Before I Self Destruct are two movies. 50’s directorial debut, Before I Self Destruct, and a documentary about the legendary DJ of RUN DMC, Jam Master Jay.

50 has made crafted a media persona around the fact that he gives a raw uncut opinion about everything. So in the spirit of the movie’s star, I have to say that I fully expected that this movie was going to be the worst. When I saw that the rapper was not just taking on a movie role with Before I Self Destruct but becoming a film auteur by writing, starring and directing I was prepared for whole new level of bad.

But what I got was a surprisingly entertaining effort. Before I Self Destruct tells the story of Clarence (50 Cent), a high school dropout who becomes a ruthless street enforcer. Shot in HD BISD is a hood film to the next level. Like 50’s music there is a certain gallows humor that runs through the film which makes it entertaining. Not necessarily Oscar worthy but definitely a hood favorite in the making.

The second film is one that is a passion project in the truest sense. Boston born Filmmaker Stephon “Phonz” Watford started working with his cousin Jam Master Jay before he left high school. Being friends with his brother and in the music scene in Boston, I used to see him before his treks in and out of town. He used to come back from tour with JMJ with nuff stories to tell and new music. In fact my introduction to Onyx and 50 Cent’s music was through Phonz. He was a part of the legend’s inner circle. It wasnt just a job for Phonz. That was his family. So as you can imagine that the still unsolved murder touched him deeply. And once the pain subsided, he wanted answers.

He took that pain and turned it into the passion that created this film. He was relentless with this. This is a deeply personal documentary that traces the life and death of a Hip Hop legend. Because he worked so closely with Jay he was afforded a level of access to the key players like Rev Run and Russell Simmons that no journalist could ever have. Thats what separates this film from the average doc. The intensely personal approach as he searches for answers has you rooting for him on his quest.

You may get the new 50 for the music but the visuals that go with it make it a truly worthy purchase.