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June 2006


By Kam Williams



Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Dave Chappelle, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Pras, Dead Prez, Kanye West, James "Kamal" Gray, Fred Hampton Jr. Leonard Hubbard, Wyclef Jean, Big Daddy Kane, Common
Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Studio: Unuversal Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: June 13, 2006
Directed by Academy Award¨ winner Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Dave Chappelle's Block Party follows the funnyman as he treats a Brooklyn neighborhood and a group of out-of-towners to a hilarious, no-holds barred, once-in-a-lifetime celebration. The unforgettable daylong party that results is loaded with humor, as well as a historic showcase of today's most influential musical artists, including Kanye West, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Common, Jill Scott, the Roots plus the legendary Fugees, who reunite for the first time in eight years! Be a part of what Dave Chappelle calls "the best single day of my career!"
DVD Features:
September in Brooklyn: Making of Block Party
Extended Music Acts
Ohio Players: The Bus Ride

Fans expecting that trademark Chappelle sketch humor are likely to be disappointed by Block Party, for this concert flick's strength lies in its inspired musical performances by a host of hip-hop artists who are not at all shy about sharing their sharp-edged political perspective. Shot in Bedford-Stuyvesant on an overcast afternoon in September of 2004, the film features such rabble-rousing rappers as Kanye West, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Jill Scott, Common, The Roots, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Cody Chestnutt, John Legend and The Fugees, who reunited just for the affair.

For as Dave explains after the opening credits, he picked "performers who have a message that's more than making money." What is utterly bizarre, as a consequence, is the stark contrast between their relatively-dignified material and Chappelle's chosen low-brow approach, since he repeatedly trades in the F-word, the B-word and the N-word. In fact, at a curious moment of introspection, he even admits to seeing himself as mediocre.

Fortunately, Dave's is easily overshadowed by the other performers, particularly Mos, Erykah, Kanye, and of course, The Fugees, whose Lauryn Hill brings down the house with a show-stopping rendition of Killing Me Softly. After watching Block Party, it is easy to understand how Chappelle might have withdrawn into his shell, a tortured soul, torn between the material that made him a mega star and a desire to deliver a message of lasting value with substance.