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Liner Notes: Hip-Hop Cinema with Andre Nickatina

Around his Bay Area stomping ground, Nickatina is a hip-hop legend who's best known for his hardcore "life-on-the-streets" ethos and silky smooth delivery. Some might

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Around his Bay Area stomping ground, Nickatina is a hip-hop legend who's best known for his hardcore "life-on-the-streets" ethos and silky smooth delivery. Some might call Nickatina "gangsta rap," and he might not even disagree with that label.


There's no doubt this rapper, whose word-of-mouth rise to regional fame has allowed him to tour the West Coast extensively, has skills - BUT we're talking MC skills, not filmmaking skills. Nickatina recently served as executive producer of a feature length film entitled Ugly Money, a confusingly low-budget story about prostitutes and their predictably skeezy pimps.

The film, shot entirely on a handheld (Hi8?) camera, was directed by fellow rapper Gino Carnell, who also plays Mack, a slick pimp who prefaces most of his nouns with any variety of N-words, F-words, MF-words, or mumbling. Nickatina is only a producer, so it's unclear what influence he had, but his name does appear (albeit misspelled) on the cover, so he can't completely escape the blame...or accolades. Nickatina previously produced another DVD that one SF Weekly writer called "fantastically bad," which is also an apt description of Ugly Money.

The film includes lines like: "Respect the game for what it is. I got the bitch and let's leave it at that," said from one pimp to another. Soon after, the aforementioned "bitch" is fatally and repeatedly stabbed behind a Mayflower moving truck. This is all probably meant to paint a poignantly realistic take of life on the street, but the result is a hilarious C-grade flick that you'll be staring at (and laughing at) for it's entire hour and a half. - Mike Bookey

Andre Nickatina, Cool Nutz, Cloaked Characters, Benzo, and Mindscape

8pm doors, 9pm show Friday, June 6. Midtown Ballroom, 51 NW Greenwood Ave. $22/advance, $27/day of show.


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