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Yung Brodee's short film 'Hustla: The Empire's on the Rise' released [Video]

April 7, 2011 | 11:06 am

The "hood movie" has been an essential part of hip-hop for well over a decade. Partially pioneered by Master P,  the genre became a cash cow during the DVD boom of the early years of the last decade, with everyone from Game to 50 Cent to the Diplomats cashing in on the trend.

With the rise of YouTube and the popular online video emporium World Star Hip Hop, street-based reality films have tended to appear for free on the Web, and tend to boast a production value commensurate with third grade. Accordingly, keeping tabs on South L.A. rapper Yung Brodee's productions has been a pleasant anomaly for the inconsistent genre.

While Oscar isn't about to come calling for Brodee's latest, "Hustla: The Empire's on the Rise," the scope and cinematics are impressive for an independently done and self-financed production. Directed by Demond "U-Majesty" Ford, the 13-minute mini-movie follows DeMarques Edwards (Brodee's government name) as he's tailed by a pack of "rogue DEA agents, hellbent on arresting him for being a drug kingpin."

Though the plotline follows an arc similar to so many of its predecessors, it features a heavily local bent, with shots of LAX, downtown and the city's suburbs, where Brodee is presumably living to escape heat. The film doesn't top the the haunting pathos of "Good Die Young," its Skid Row-themed predecessor, but provides more evidence of Brodee's impressive ambition. And should you trust the infamously dicey metrics of WSHH, it's become a significant hit on the site, racking up more than 5 million plays.

Unlike many local street-focused rappers, Brodee openly trumpets his lack of gang affiliation. It's a stark contrast to his close friend Nipsey Hussle, who prominently featured him on his 2009 mixtape, "Bullets Have No Name, Vol. 3." Yet despite waving no flags, the Long Beach Poly graduate remains dedicating to chronicling the asphalt realities of street life in crisp high-definition.  

-- Jeff Weiss 

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