The Great Hip Hop Hoax ★★★★

I'm a really big fan of Jeanie Finlay's documentaries and this one from 2013 was one that had so far eluded me but was nevertheless one that I was determined to catch, so thanks BBC Scotland!

It's the story of Silibil 'n' Brains, an obnoxious Californian hip hop duo who seemed destined for fame and fortune in the mid '00s as they signed a record deal with Sony. But no-one in the industry realised was that the pair were actually two lads from Scotland, who had never even set foot in America.

There's something uniquely irresistible about a good con trick, an allure that is all the more satisfying when you consider that those marks who had been duped never end up learning a lesson. Step forward then, Jonathan Shalit - the man who represented the pair and who still cannot comprehend why Billy Boyd and Gavin Bain (the real identities of Silibil 'n' Brains) faked their way towards a record deal. He will not acknowledge the truth of Boyd and Bain's experience which was that they were repeatedly turned down by A&R men on account of their Scottish accents. One of them even going so far as to call them "the rapping Proclaimers" at one audition. That they subsequently went away, adopted American actors and created two characters, and showcased the very same songs to A&R approval just shows you how dumb and shallow the business is. That Shalit, when asked to explain why, when the duo split, did he not encourage Bain further, remarks "I would have no interest in seeing Mick Jagger in concert on his own" further shows the man's utter ignorance and stupidity, because Jagger has made a lot of money from his solo ventures. OK, they might not be critically acclaimed in the same way that his stuff with the Stones, but it still sells albums and it still sells concert tickets. What these professional types in any creative industry cannot admit to is the snobbery they possess and the mistakes they make based on ignorance. Shame then that each time they open their mouths, they inadvertently do it all for us. That's the beauty of a good hustle, the marks always deserve to be cheated and humiliated.

Number 83 in my 52 films by Women in 2019 challenge

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