Fly By Night is the greatest rap movie of all time. Fly By Night is the worst rap movie of all time. Both these statements might pop in your head (maybe even almost simultaneously) during certain scenes in what truly is a rap cinematic cult classic that more people should be up on.
There’s parts in Fly By Night where you feel like you’re watching a really dope Juice spin-off when all of a sudden a John Waters movie breaks out. The rap performances feel like they were left on the CB4 cutting room floor because they’re far too serious… which, of course, makes them all that more hilarious. Yet, the movie is oddly compelling with a plot revolving around aspiring rappers still relevant today in the age of so many “struggle rappers” that plague social media.
As it goes, Jeffrey D. Sams stars as Rich, a NYC subway booth clerk (back when tokens were $1.15… back when there was tokens) who dreams of making it big in the rap game. The thing is, his style is type corny, which makes it somewhat unlikely that he joins forces with the way-too-real I (a memorable Ron Brice ), who is like a cross between DMX and Malcolm X , to form the group, King & I (not to be confused with Da King & I ). But it happens, which leads our protagonists into various scenarios involving jungle fever, gay bashing, racism, artistic (and personal) integrity, and one of the realest conversations about the rap music industry ever committed to celluloid. Although there are times when things get absurd (the scene with the white DJ and the junkie’s girlfriend comes to mind), things are offset and balanced by the presence of authentic hip-hop people like MC Lyte (holding it down with the solid acting skills as Rich’s wife), Special Ed , Kid Capri , DJ Scratch , Daryl “Chill” Mitchell , and even actress Kathleen Chalfant , who is married to Style Wars producer Henry Chalfant . (Hell, there even appears to be a Scott La Rock mural visible in the background at one point).
So while we wish we could present Fly By Night in THX Sound, we’re grateful to the YT godz for making it available at all… especially since we had to cancel our Black Starz cable subscription a few years back. Enjoy.
Directed by Steve Gomer
(Props to LilEvoG for the upload)