The Hip Hop Project

Synopsis: The Hip Hop Project is the dynamic and inspirational story of a group of New York City teenagers who transform their life stories into powerful works of art, using hip hop as a vehicle for self-development and personal discovery. The film traces the evolution of this award-winning outreach program developed by Kazi, a formerly homeless teenager turned youth mentor. After four years of collaboration, the group produced a powerful and thought-provoking album that provides a revealing look at their lives. In contrast to all the negative attention focused on hip hop and rap music, this is a story of hope, healing and the realization of dreams.
Director(s): Matt Ruskin
Production: ThinkFilm
  4 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
88 min

- My name is Chris Rolle,

better known as Kazi

My mother didn't want me,

so I flew to the streets

Stole everything

from food to eat

To the shoes on my feet

From nothing I rose

to leave my mark on this globe

To give back so that others

wouldn't have to go through it

To use music as the conduit

Yeah, yeah, yeah,

what up, what up?

Thank y'all for coming out.

My name is Chris Rolle.

I'm the director

of the Hip Hop Project.

In the music industry nowadays,

they focus on the superficial.

We focus on things of substance,

issues that affect all of us.

And the music

you will hear tonight,

trust me,

it will inspire you.

So if you ready

for the Hip Hop Project,

I want y'all

to put your hands together all

and make some noise.

Check, check, check.

Is this thing on?

Can y'all hear me out there?


It's Kharma Kazi

and the Hip Hop Project.

This is how we gonna do.

This is roll call.

What we're about to

bring to you,

is the next generation:

MCs, poets, singers.

I hope y'all ready.

First up to bat is CaNNoN.

- It's C-A-double N-O-N

up in ya neighborhood


holdin' that pen and a pad

Fill in that paper good

Roaming the city

Holdin' my giddy-guitar

on my back

Passion for music high

I'm a monster on a track

- Just in terms of my life,

always moving,

living nomadically, you know,

that was the norm for me.

Back then, I wasn't really

thinking about it.

I was just surviving

and just trying

to make a way for myself.

Being in the streets,

I always felt like

it was something more,

and I felt like I was just

wasting my life away.

I just want to be

an exemplary person.

I think life would be a waste

if I didn't make a difference

while I was here,

'cause it is hard out here, man.

And especially if you don't have

a father or any parents,

you need somebody to pass on

some information to you

and they can leave an impact

on your life,

so that's just where I'm going

right now.

- It's time now to meet

this week's hometown hero.

He's 24-year-old Chris Rolle.

He grew up as an orphan

on the streets of Crown Heights,

pretty tough streets.

But he took his love for music

to help pull himself

and a whole lot of other people

out of trouble.

- My dream was to create

a program where young people

could start healing

through hip-hop music.

And then they travel

all around the country

and try to inspire other

young people to do the same.

Every day I was rushing to work,

you know.

Matter of fact,

people have to tell me,

"Yo, 2:
00 in the morning,

what are you still doing here? "

Hey, yo, I'm making

this curriculum for tomorrow,

making phone calls,

and making an agenda.

I just had a passion for it.

- If I had to say

I need a block full of paramedics

for no means

and I know faggots

will f*** em' nasty

And I'd never hit a girl

with the right snuffer

Hey, yo, we got tougher

Blue gats and box cutters

You're a cocksucker,

I'm a p*ssy

Why you labeled

as the block deffer

I leave you in this hot gutter

See this rap game, nigga

Pig fell in his sh*t...

- When the kids first came in,

they thought they were

just going to jump

into writing this album.

As I heard the stuff that they

was writing about, you know,

I was just like,

"Y'all not ready. "

- When I first went

to Hip Hop Project,

I was back doing the,

"your mama this,

your mama that,"

you know what I mean,

the straight-up

hard grisly battles,

spitting in your face.

I said, ah,

you ain't a threat

B*tch, push me

Show me your Hartsfield

And your best friend's a p*ssy

like Odie from Garfield

On the real

I ain't come

to fight or battle, no

I'm in this damn park

looking like a light show

Chicks acting real cocky

But in a minute,

they'll slob me in the lobby

Sliding their necks

similar to Bill Cosby

And while he acting

like he die-proof, no, look,

Metal will travel through your left side

like spiral notebooks

You're like,

you have to get rid of me

When you the biggest b*tch

on the island

Like the Statue of Liberty

I'm laughing, you killin' me

You ain't got

half the ability

Clack-clack, pow!

We kick it and pop it

if you like to

- I said, yo son, hold up,

I said, yo.

That last rhyme

I heard you spit

Was as weak as baby sh*t

Stuffed with strained peas,

raw milk, and runny grits

You a funny b*tch

I'll snatch you by your hair

out your high chair

Stick a bottle up yo' ass

for blowing that hot air

You say that's not fair

But you did came rappin'

in my domain

F*** is wrong with your brain?

I'm hotter than a propane

Cookin' all you

bald head faggots

You need a Rogaine

If people didn't tell you

that I was the grimy one

The love now, hate later,

some timey one, the slimy one

The sh*t I do is strictly

off the record

- Everybody's talkin' about

the same exact thing.

They was killers.

They was gangsters.

They were selling drugs.

It just wasn't

what the program was about.

As we begin to grow,

more and more people

will be coming around,

so there got to be some type

of code that we live by.

I feel like at the bottom

of any religion

or any program you're in,

they just want you to do

certain things a certain way

or live by a certain principle.

- Before any other process

could happen,

he had to be on the same page

with the young people.

They had to share the same mind.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Hip Hop Project" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 17 Jun 2024. <>.

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