Last weekend, I went to see Dave Chappelle's Block Party. I'm not a hip-hop aficionado, but I'm a fan of the Roots (who serve as the house band for the majority of the concert), Mos Def, Common, and Jill Scott (who's a fantastic singer, and a phenomenal presence live). Erykah Badu and Talib Kweli are not among my favourites, but I like them. The only group I didn't know on the roster was Dead Prez, and I have to say the only Kanye West I know is "Gold Digger." Add in a Fugees reunion and Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) directing, and it's a very promising film.
Gondry doesn't approach the Block Party like a hip-hop The Last Waltz; he constructs a story out of the preparations leading up to the concert, interspersed with the relevant parts of the concert. The performers become the protagonists of a story about community. The casualty of this structure are complete performances - if memory serves the only unfaded, complete performance is Dead Prez's "It's Bigger Than Hip-Hop." However, this interview with Gondry reveals that much of the 8-hour concert is to be included in the DVD. I hope the record companies can get their act together and clear the Fugees' participation (due to licensing red tape, they're not on the soundtrack).
Also, my jazzhead side was proud of the scene where Chappelle rambles through "Round Midnight" on a Salvation Army Rhodes, and encourages all up-and-coming comics and musicians to study to the work of Thelonious Monk. "Off time, and perfectly on time."