CANNON MONTH: Rappin’ (1985)

I love this movie.

If Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo exists in its own dimension, this one is the Earth-3 to its Earth-2, a place where rap can save the world. And to make it even better, it’s filmed right where I call home, Pittsburgh, PA.

Directed by Joel Silberg — the man who brought us Breakin’ and Lambada  — and written by Adam Friedman and Robert J. Litz, this is the story of Rappin’ John Hood (Mario Van Peebles), who has just been released from prison only to come home to a neighborhood dealing with gangs and developers kicking out everyone to prepare for high paying real estate.

He reunites with his old crew, like Moon (Kadeem Hardison from A Different World) and Ice (Eric La Salle), Fats (Melvin Plowden) and his little brother Allan (Leo O’Brien, the real-life younger brother of The Sugarland Gang’s Master Gee) while dealing with a rival gang led by Duane (Charles Flohe, The Delta ForceP.O.W. the Escape), who loses his girlfriend Dixie, who used to be John’s girlfriend, back to John (Tasia Valenza, who is the voice of Sniper Wolf in the Metal Gear Solid games).

There’s also Cedric (Rory Clanton), a former resident of the neighborhood who is selling it out to the white man when he isn’t making deals with Duane’s gang. And there’s a plot about the music industry wanting to hire John, probably just for the song “Snack Attack.”

It also has the Force MDs and Ice-T himself shows up and either he or Master Gee supposedly ghost rapped Van Peeble’s rhymes–  which the credits claim he wrote himself — but man, Ice-T provides a nice multiverse crossover with the Breakin’ films. When he raps “Killers,” a song all about bad cops, rich murders and politicians treating normal people as “just puppets in the games they play” alongside David Storrs, you’ll be excited that a happy-go-lucky film doesn’t forget to include harsh reality inside the bubblegum.

There’s also a scene where Fats and the local lady of the evening, Rosalita, pull a scam not unlike a scene in every Lemon Popsicle movie where a heavyset man gets surprised by a woman’s boyfriend coming home. And the movie even has room for Mommie Dearest and Amityville II: The Possession star Rutanya Alda to be in this!

Someone on a Pittsburgh film site picked this as one of the worst movies ever made here. What a joke. Come on — we should all be so lucky as to live in the same neighborhood as John Hood.

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