Legendary local music festival, Skinful, returns after an extended hiatus this Saturday. Aside from acts like local reggae legends The Dubplates and creators of the catchy cocaine-y “Party in the ’80s,” Sexbruise?, taking the stage, some of hip-hop music’s luminariest of the luminaries will be in attendance as well. You got turntable wizardry from illustrious people like DJ Logic, the Beastie Boys’ Mix Master Mike, DJ Qbert, and co-headliners Redman and Method Man.
In the spirit of the upcoming event, we wanted to mention an underseen classic and a mainstream gem featuring several Skinful performers.
Wave Twisters (2001)
So when it comes to watching a movie that wears down your neck from all the head noddery and eyeball exhaustion from the surreal visuals, you can’t go wrong with Ed Henry and Syd Garron’s adaptation of DJ Qbert’s album Wave Twisters. What stands before us is the unbridled creativity that hip-hop can be when unencumbered by label intrusion or even the dreaded copyright laws.
The plot of Wave Twisters takes all kinds of turns but that really takes a backseat to the 2001 cut-n-paste aesthetics that complement our DJ’s style. At the jump, we’re given visual samples that may or may not be the TV show Supermarket Sweep intermingling with supervillain Donald Rumsfeld bitching about eating vegetables. From there we have computer animation mixed with live-action scenes and cell animation to turn DJ Qbert’s turntable odyssey into a treat for those looking for a tale involving a band of heroes (one wearing a turntable watch) dedicated to saving the four elements of hip-hop culture from those who seek to destroy it. In this case it may be babies controlled by a red worm emanating from their belly or some thugs with chins for heads, naturally known as Chinheads.
The man himself, as well as Yogafrog, D-Styles, Flare, and even the great Buckethead make cameos. The movie is refreshingly unique. It may be considered crude by today’s animation standards, but to those who want a visual and aural feast, it won’t matter. Sure, it doesn’t have Reggie Nobles hitting on Jennifer Tilly or psychotic dolls, but it’s still a nice watch. If the past few sentences lauding this film intrigue you in the slightest, you can catch it on Amazon and YouTube.
How High (2001)
Since the early ’90s, when Method Man was merely part of a hungry group of frustrated artists vying for the crown and Redman was merely the latest member of EPMD’s Hit Squad jamming a tissue up his nose, anal-retentive fans (re: heads) would press rewind to double-check the bars they just heard. It was a magical moment in a time when The Source was a veritable hip-hop bible and DJ tapes were still a thing. Ever since they both had their debut albums on Def Jam, fans wondered when the two would join forces to create their own album.
That album, Blackout!, contained a song, “How High,” that would inspire the title of their first film together. I watched How High at the Regal 18. While part of me enjoyed the movie directed by Jesse Dylan (Bob’s son) and was happy to see them achieve even more mainstream attention, the nerd in me was hoping the film would play more to the charms of both Mans and remind audiences that they were a lot more than hip-hop’s Cheech and Chong.
The plot is relatively simple: Silas and Jamal (Method Man and Redman) smoke some magical shit, made from a dead friend’s ashes, that helps them ace an entrance exam that gets them into Harvard. Fred Willard, Mike Epps, Tracey Morgan, Cypress Hill, and the late Spaulding Gray join in on the hijinks. Upon a rewatch, I enjoyed the movie on a nostalgic level, plus I’m a sucker for any movie that throws in a lowbrow fart joke while War’s “Cisco Kid” plays in the background. The best buds’ chemistry is pretty engaging and keeps the movie entertaining. So entertaining that it led to a short-lived TV show, Meth & Red, three years later.
That said, their kick-assedness is better showcased in other things. Method Man’s range has been well established in shows like The Wire and The Deuce while Redman’s most memorable acting role may very well be the time he starred in Seed Of Chucky as Redman. His short-lived performance was memorable enough that, if I met the man, I would sheepishly ask him to sign my Seed of Chucky DVD.
On another note, there is a sequel. There is nary a Meth or Red in sight but plenty of Lil Yachty and Young DC Fly. How do you make a How High sequel that doesn’t star the very reason for the first film’s existence?
Don’t miss your chance to see DJ Qbert, Method Man, and Redman live at Skinful. Find tickets at citypapertickets.com.