What You Need To Know:
(NA, LLL, SSS, N, V, A) Pagan worldview portrayed in satire; at least 300 obscenities, 5 profanities, nonstop obscene language, explicit descriptions of sexual activity, & "nigger" used repeatedly by all characters referring to one another; women repeatedly degraded verbally & physically; rear female nudity; music & videos which, while intended as satire on contemporary rap, contain extraordinarily blunt and grotesque references to abusive sex, masturbation, anal intercourse, & racial violence; repeated threats of violence; beatings off camera; multiple shootings depicted in slapstick style; and, ongoing beer guzzling.
Years before he directed mainstream hits, Rob Reiner concocted the mock documentary THIS IS SPINAL TAP, a clever chronicle of the rise and fall of a pathetic heavy metal group. That film’s scathing satire was undermined by the graphic content of the group’s songs, which by design pushed the boundaries of rock into ridiculous and tasteless extremes. FEAR OF A BLACK HAT has attempted a similar assault on contemporary rap music, certainly a worthy target for some deflating mockery. However, compared to BLACK HAT, SPINAL TAP looks like THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
The repeated use of the word “nigger” by these characters to refer to one another is but a fraction of the intensely abusive language in this film. In its best moments, FEAR OF A BLACK HAT gleefully skewers the posturing of rap musicians as serious commentators on urban life. At their core, these guys are greedy, shallow, lewd, and crude, full of phony rationalizations about their advocacy of violence and their abusive posture toward women. The intermittent fun of this satire comes with an unacceptable price tag. Over 300 obscenities pour from this film like rancid rain, until the viewer’s senses are dulled. Far more objectionable are their rap “compositions.” A few MTV-style videos contain material far more offensive and grotesque than anything in memory which has carried an R rating.