Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (aKa Block Party) is a 2005 music documentary film directed by music video icon Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Green Hornet, Be Kind Rewind, and The Science of Sleep). It’s hosted, written, and produced by comedian Dave Chappelle (A Star Is Born, Half Baked, The Nutty Professor, and Chi-Raq). It’s dedicated to the memory of music producer J Dilla. The soundtrack includes : Dead Prez – “Hip Hop”, Black Star – “Definition”, Jill Scott – “Golden”, Mos Def – “Universal Magnetic”, Talib Kweli feat. Erykah Badu – “The Blast”, Common feat. Erykah Badu & Bilal – “The Light”, The Roots feat. Big Daddy Kane & Kool G Rap – “Boom!”, Erykah Badu – “Back in the Day”, Jill Scott – “The Way”, Mos Def – “UMI Says”, The Roots feat. Erykah Badu & Jill Scott – “You Got Me”, and Black Star – “Born & Raised”. The budget was $3 million and it grossed $12.1 million at the box office!!!!
The film follows comedian Dave Chappelle (Chappelle’s Show, Screwed, Undercover Brother, and You’ve Got Mail) during the summer of 2004, ending on September 18, 2004, when he threw a block party on the corner of Quincy Street and Downing Street in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. The film features nearby sites including the Broken Angel House in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn as well as areas in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The film was produced before Chappelle’s highly publicized decision to walk away from a $50 million deal to continue his hit Chappelle’s Show, and gained prominence after the announcement.
Chappelle invited several hip hop and neo-soul musical artists to perform at the party including Kanye West (The Cleveland Show, The Love Guru, and Entourage), Mos Def (Dexter, Life of Crime, Monster’s Ball, and 16 Blocks), Jill Scott (Black Panther, Baggage Claim, Black Lightning, and Love Beats Rhymes), Erykah Badu (Hand of God, Black Dynamite, Blues Brothers 2000, and The Cider House Rules), Big Daddy Kane (Posse, The Meteor Man, and Dead Heist), Dead Prez (Slam, Scratch, Crossing Over, Project X, and Brooklyn’s Finest), Talib Kweli (The Last O.G., 30 Rock, and Black Jesus), Common (The Kitchen, Smokin’ Aces, John Wick: Chapter 2, Suicide Squad, and Terminator Salvation) and The Roots (High Fidelity, Blade II, The Wire, Superbad, and Collateral) along with The Central State University Marching Band. Lauryn Hill was also scheduled to perform at the party but since Columbia Records refused to release her songs for use in the production, she decided instead to reunite The Fugees (When We Were Kings, Elmopalooza!, and Little America) for the occasion. In addition, Chappelle performed comedy monologues and sketches in between the musical acts!!!!
Block Party is so much fun and very entertaining. It’s a great inside look into comedian Dave Chappelle putting together an epic show for the community. It’s directed by the creative visual mind of Michel Gondry which actually makes it stand out way more than your typical music documentary. Dave Chappelle is hilarious and very personal in Block Party. It shows putting together this event piece by piece. He interviews the public plus a few familiar faces in the hip hop world. The Fugees reunited for this which was epic itself since it’s been awhile since they all been together on stage.
So much talent was involved here, lots of these artists you probably recognize from so many movies especially Common and Mos Def. It doesn’t show the full show but it highlights some of the best moments from it. The soundtrack is amazing and so many iconic tracks are performed here. It has a nice balance of reality, comedy, and music here. Unfortunately, the unrated cut that was around 8 minutes longer is not included here and it’s still only available on DVD. None of the extras were carried over so definitely hold on to that disc because it included September in Brooklyn: The Making of Block Party, Ohio Players, and Extended Musical Performances. Despite all of that missing, this theatrical version is still worth checking out on blu ray for the very first time. It’s a love letter to hip hop and bring a community together as one through music, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Mill Creek! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer appears to be from an old master but it’s still an upgrade over the previous DVD home video release. Don’t expect reference quality but it’s still solid. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is actually better than expected. All of the dialogue is crystal clear and all the musicial performances have a killer boost. This one sounds pretty damn good in the home set up. It has English SDH subtitles. Like I said above, this one has no extras at all. It’s a bare bones release but when it comes to the price, it’s still worth it. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!