Tha Eastsidaz

Tha Eastsidaz

The hip-hop films of the early 2000s, cheaply produced for the DVD market, have tended to stay there, gathering dust and forgotten about. But, aided by the fact that many of these twenty-year-old discs can often be found for mere pence, it's easy to snap up a heap of them in the hope that there may be some surprises. This one is immediately endearing in that, for all the wealth and fame of its lead, it was shot 4:3 on an SD camera like any home video of the time. And that is, essentially, what this is – Snoop and pals indulging in their action fantasies with a revenge plot and a high body count. You can tell that they know what movies they want to emulate (these films could be argued to constitute a second wave of blaxploitation), but also that they don't quite know how. And the lack of any screenwriter credit is telling, too, suggesting it was essentially made up on the spot. A bit of fun to make with/show to your mates. There are also interesting parallels with the sixties and seventies low-budget filmmaking that is currently a key part of the boutique Blu-ray market – something quick-and-easy with a few obvious selling points to secure a money-grab distribution deal on; plus Snoop and director Michael Martin were also making pornos around the same time, just like their 1970s forebears – though nobody has really exploited this particular territory as yet, nor has its history been written.