Someone is killing high-profile rap musicians.
YOU’RE NOBODY TIL SOMEBODY KILLS YOU (2012) is a unique hip-hop themed horror/thriller and an interesting title that originates from a song written by Christopher George Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G, an America rapper and central figure in the East Cost hip-hop scene in the early 90’s. The mystery surrounding his death may have been fodder for the subject of this film–the mysterious deaths of high profile rap musicians. Rappers Doug E. Fresh and Big Daddy Kane make cameos in the movie, but they aren’t leading contributors to the plot. However, there are numerous actors featured that have been on high profile shows such as NYPD Blue, The Wire, and Entourage. Admitting that I didn’t have high expectations for this film, I found myself immensely entertained. The unintentionally hilarious plot, the unusually catching nicknames (Manchild), and the engaging musical score was just enough to set the film to a new level of B-movie awesomeness–if it weren’t for the acting performances; although the performances did add to the movie’s campy appeal.
Two New York detectives Johnson (James McDaniel) and his partner Francelli (Michael Mosley), are star investigators of the NYPD. Both are assigned to the recent hip-hop murders, and their chief believes that Johnson and his partner are the only ones that can crack the case. Francelli’s demeanor is disturbingly cheerful for someone working on a murder case–he is laughing and joking about the quarrels that went on between rival musicians and laughing in between the gruesome murders. Unbeknownst to Detective Johnson, Francelli was investigating the hip-hop murder case almost entirely solo for the entire film, and only notifying his partner later on and leads to predictable gaps in the plot, and awkward event timing.
Manchild (Nashawn Kearse) is the hottest rapper on the scene and eventually finds himself the latest target of the killer. Marcus, Manchild’s real name, saw the rap music industry as a way to escape the violence of his old neighborhood. Sorry to say that this wasn’t a promising option. Marcus is one of the good guy’s and surrounded by people who obviously aren’t concerned about his good being. He has the potential to be murdered, and neither his record company or his business manager thought fit to provide him with security. Instead, are in denial and downplays any attempt on his life. The film also featured romantic interests and glimpses into his and Johnson’s family life that seemed more like filler material and did not explicitly tie in well with the other events occurring in the film.
The murders–in short–were depicted quite hysterically. There wasn’t any gore in the movie, and the killer’s methods were hardly extraordinary and are successful in maintaining the identity of the murderer. I suspected that the hip-hop executive mogul, Marcell Mann (Jacinto Taras Riddick) was the killer, as the man was the epitome of fear and power. Cleverly, director Pinckney decided to pick a suspicious, yet mostly random individual, and an ending that is nonsensical at best. If you are expecting it to be a wild “hip-hop” themed slasher and if you are expecting it to be okay–it is. The movie works well in the (comedy) slasher genre it may fit in–with hip-hop!
Overall, You’re Nobody Till Somebody Kills You–is a particular horror/thriller specifically for B-movie enthusiasts and campy movie lovers.
Actually, an awful movie that is enjoyable only because there isn’t a film anywhere else quite like it.