As The Socalled Movie opens, we meet a young musician in Paris. We see snippets of him performing at shows, and then doing some interviews in French. His English is surprisingly good also, as he uses isolated phrases here and there. He is clearly Jewish, and his music is a mix of hip-hop and Klezmer. As the movie unfolds, we find out that he is actually Canadian and was just touring in France. It is the first of many misdirections and twists as the movie peels back layer after layer of the fascinating and complex musician known as Socalled.
Socalled grew up outside Montreal, and he is truly a renaissance man. One of his many hobbies is discovering old and obscure masters, and reworking them into his music via samples and collaborations. At a young age, Socalled discovered his love for Hasidic music, although he claims to hate religion. After buying some mixing equipment with money made from selling drugs, Socalled began scouring thrift stores and yard sales for old albums that he could sample. He discovered many great Yiddish and Klezmer artists that he incorporated into his music, and eventually went on to track down and work on projects with some of them. He collaborates with Fred Wesley, the greatest funk trombonist of all time (and Socalled's childhood idol). The scenes with him and Wesley meeting and working together are some of the most amazing and poignant in the movie.
As the movie goes on, we learn more and more about Socalled, and he becomes more fascinating and complicated. He is the coolest musician you've never heard of. He is the kid with the best taste and the coolest collection of toys and obscure memorabilia. He is the nerds' hip-hop star. He is a walking contradiction of old and new. He is a silly, trivial guy, accomplishing incredible, serious things. He breaks down barriers of race, religion, class, and age, all with a smile on his face.
I don't want to give too much away about the movie, so check out The Socalled Movie for yourself over at Hulu.com through the end of August. If you don't have time for the whole flick, check out this wacky, cool video by Socalled.
I always like to end with a laugh, so here's something I found while doing research for this review(smoking weed and getting lost in Youtube is what I call "research"). Remember that stupid video that went viral about a year ago of the people in a wedding dancing down the aisle? The one that showed up on every morning talk show and most middle aged women's facebook page? Well, watch this Soul Train clip of people dancing to the incredible Fred Wesley and the J.B.'s, and you'll see how it is motherfucking done!