“Adult Rappers” Is a Genuinely Harrowing Documentary

“This documentary feature pulls back the curtain on the world of ‘working class’ rappers. The film spotlights independent artists struggling to find a balance between making a living and pursuing their art alongside the never-ending saga of age and relevance. Weaved together through a series of 30 plus interviews that are devoid of the ego so common in the business of music, especially hip-hop, the film traverses the country (USA) to explore the myths and misconceptions of life as a full-time rapper. Adult Rappers. A documentary stuck on the realness.“—Official release, Adult Rappers Vimeo

What happens after youth? Is there such thing? This documentary interviews rappers who claim to not only be beyond youth, but to be there permanently. The documentary is called Adult Rappers. It is not clear if the interviewees have colluded to tell the same story. Their faces are different shades and shapes but their mouths are identical. They ask, “When do you give it your last try? What happens when your age starts with a 3 or a 4? What happens when your landlord is not the people who birthed you but rather a stranger who refuses to accept art as rent? What if you do not make it?”

This is an important documentary. I cannot confirm if it is fact or fiction, but if Adulthood is fact, I believe we as a society ought to be informed. The rappers interviewed talk about falling out of love with their craft, about what happens when It’s never too late becomes too late. About when your hairline recedes, metabolism slows, and the novelty of your newness to the industry disperses.

The film is depressing. You cannot watch it and not introspect about your own ambitions. But I do not think the point is to crush me with realism. Maybe this is one of those things that I should watch and keep in the back of my skull. My guess is that this is a voice from the future, not the voice. It will never be my voice. That voice can chase me and waste its time. I will outrun it.

This documentary is frightening. I did not keep my eyes open at certain parts but I heard it all. The interviewees warn us in unison, “You train yourself to be hungry and motivated then suddenly that motivation, without success, leaves you with a sadness that does not leave after a good night’s sleep. You build a vision of the future and dedicate all of your mind to its construction and then the clock tick tocks your efforts. You realize you never enjoyed the life you had.”

That freaks me out bad. I do not have time to relax because my peers and I are competing for the same finite spots at the top. Worse still, the Adult Rappers claim that success in the rap industry is not about whether your music is great or not. Is it about if you are a marketable piece of popular culture.

I feel grateful for the courage of the interviewers to say on camera that they regret giving so much of their self-worth to materialism, image, and the pursuit of physical love. They regret keeping it real and maintaining pride that kept them from accepting minor record deals.

If this film is fact and these stories are truly realized nightmares, I have an obligation to share it. The link is here.

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