The Portland Mercury
A Selection of Reel Music Films, Reviewed 
By Julianne Shepherd
(January 2, 2004) 

Showing with Hip Hop Hope (dir. Darrell Wilks, US 2002)--Referring to the five elements of 
hiphop (deejaying, emceeing, b-boying, graffiti, and beatboxing), Five Sides of a Coin is 
really successful at capturing the street vibe of the genre, including captions written in graff 
and spray-painted  footage, with the help of some snazzy animation. Interested in showing 
both the origins and depth of hiphop culture (as opposed to the media-distorted versions of 
rap music), the directors talked to everyone they could find--from Afrika Bambaataa to 
Rahzel, from Sherri-Sher to DJ Q-Bert to Grandmaster Flash--and, whenever possible, 
filmed them performing. While those educated in the history of hiphop won't discover much 
they don't already know (but will take much joy in seeing folks such as Kool Herc discuss 
their creation of the culture), it's an excellent, thorough documentary/primer for the 
uninitiated. Each scene, ebullient with beats, sparks with the energy of the boroughs. 
Astute viewers will clue in to one depressing fact: that a film about the most important 
American art forms in the past 30 years had to be funded by the Canadian government.