It makes the viewer uncomfortable, too -- but it's unquestionably honest, like so much of Hip-Hop.
-John AndersonFull Review
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.
-Ted FryFull Review
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.
-Steven ReaFull Review
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.
-Kyle SmithFull Review
[Director] Ruskin is so awed by his subject that he never gains the distance needed to create a bigger, more powerful picture.
-Elizabeth WeitzmanFull Review
Will the music of The Hip Hop Project album change your life? Likely, no. Did the process of making it change the lives of those involved in its creation? Undoubtedly. And that, perhaps, is inspiration enough.
-Mark OlsenFull Review
There is some inspired camera work during some of the performance sequences, but none of the performances themselves stick. It's a shame when a film about the power of music doesn't contain one memorable song.
-Adam GrahamFull Review
The live performances sizzle. Expect genuine passion behind the music, even when you wonder, as an MTV interviewer does during the film, whether these kids are that much more captivating than a million other hip-hop hopefuls.
-John MonaghanFull Review
All of this is related in a well-meaning, would-be uplifting but ultimately ham-handed manner somewhere between a PBS documentary and a TV movie of the week.
-Jim DeRogatisFull Review
In fact, it is the tyro director's slapdash structure and pacing that distract from the film's content. A rather haphazard architect of his own material, Ruskin tends to rush certain crucial developments while lingering on more lackluster details.
-Michelle KungFull Review
The commercial pressure that is often brought to bear on rappers to be scurrilous and offensive. This project, which was produced by Bruce Willis and Queen Latifah, shows that there is another way.
-Peter RainerFull Review
In a nation that's stripped arts instruction from the public schools, the Hip Hop Project seems like a godsend.
The film works best when it pays specific attention to how hard it is to write a rhyme worth hearing.
-Michael PhillipsFull Review
There's not enough story to the story, which is curious, given that rap is ultimately a tale-telling medium.
-Teresa WiltzFull Review
The Hip Hop Project has a good heart and more than a little trouble organizing its thoughts.
-Rafer GuzmanFull Review
The most impressive accomplishment of Project is not the student-made album, but that when Kazi says cheesy things like 'This is healing through hip-hop,' you actually believe him.
-Jessica GroseFull Review
Rolle's passion and perseverance power the film, and along the way he gets a boost from rap mogul Russell Simmons and Bruce Willis.
-Tom MeekFull Review
[A] powerful and, if we're lucky, influential documentary.
-Christopher CampbellFull Review
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.
-John P. McCarthyFull Review
Even if you don't particulary care for rap, The Hip Hop Project may persuade you that there's something to be said for it, after all.
-Frank SwietekFull Review
Unfortunately, this is a Hallmark version of hip-hop-and it really hurts to knock this film.
A big, wet, sloppy valentine to hip-hop's power to give voice to the voiceless.
-Nathan RabinFull Review
The story is compelling enough that even glib phrases like 'healing through hip-hop' can't drag it down.
-Maitland McDonaghFull Review
Net profits from the theatrical release of The Hip Hop Project will be donated to youth organizations, so you can feel doubly good about attending this modestly moving tribute to a small but significant kind of inner-city success.
-Bob StraussFull Review
Its most compelling message is about the importance and power of community.
-Carolyn ArendsFull Review
Scenes that should be revelatory, such as a lyric-writing session, are sketchy and fail to give a sense of the work being done.
-Bill WhiteFull Review
Despite a jumpy narrative, the film works because Kazi speaks to the kids on their level but from a slight elevation, and the honesty and raw emotion he draws out of them come through.
-Mike WolfFull Review
This is a story you've heard before: Inner-city kids falling to drugs/crime/pregnancy are saved by the power of music/dance/art. Don't let that premise dissuade you from checking out this documentary.
-Jessica GroseFull Review
Doesn't really make it clear how the program works or how it handles students that can't make the grade. Are sub-par rappers booted?
-Matt PaisFull Review