[box cover]

Who's The Man?

Hosted by Dr. Dre (né Andre Brown) and Ed Lover, "Yo! MTV Raps" was a milestone television program. Shown every weekday from 1988 until 1995 — airing around the time most schools let out — Yo! introduced rap music to an audience of mostly pasty-faced kids who would then turn rap into the multi-platinum selling musical force it's become today. Someone must have thought it was a good idea to put these two in a movie, which resulted in 1993's Who the Man?, but like many films starring performers who have no business being on the big screen (resulting in such films as Gymkata and Glitter), the finished product isn't all that good. The duo play themselves as talentless barbers told by their loving boss Nick (Jim Moody) that they must apply for the police force or they'll be fired on the spot. To ensure their failure, the two fill out their multiple-choice test by picking ABACADABA repeatedly, but they get on the force regardless because Nick has a friend in precinct. The two try not to screw things up too badly, though their Sgt. Cooper (Dennis Leary) can't stand them. But when Nick is murdered, the boys suspect foul play in the form of real estate developer Demeterius (Richard Bright), who's been buying up all the land around Nick's barbershop but not building on it. Thus, the two use their police talents (or what little they have) to find out who did it. Directed by Ted Demme (The Ref, Blow), Who's the Man? is, without question, a slipshod movie; Ed Lover and Dr. Dre may have a natural chemistry together, but neither are all that appealing as leads, and both have a tendency towards mugging. Like most vehicles of this nature, many supporting players are leaned upon to spice things up, including Leary, Bernie Mac, Colin Quinn, and Bill Bellamy, but their screen-time is limited, while the mystery narrative is not particularly involving. The main reason — in fact, the most satisfying reason — to watch this film is because of the numerous cameos by then-famous mostly east-coast rappers. Virtually every major name player of the era shows up, so Heavy D, Run DMC and Jam Master Jay, Queen Latifah, Kris Kross, Humpty Hump, Busta Rhymes and the Flip mode squad, KRS-One, and Ice T all appear for cameos, while Naughty by Nature gets to perform. For those with fond memories of that era of hip-hop, it might be worth a spin. New Line presents Who's the Man? in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and full-frame transfers with either DD 5.1 or 2.0 surround audio. Theatrical and bonus trailers, keep-case.

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