By | September 27, 2022

I looked up the neighborhood that Sanna Lathan’s “On The Come Up” was set in, “Garden Heights” … all that came up was a daycare center, which epitomizes the audience that “On The Come Up” was made for.

A completely empty theater save for myself, I can see why the attendance for this “8 Mile” try-hard was so low. How could the legendary Method Man associate himself with this film? The check must have been as large as the one’s on The Price Is Right, because Lathan’s film is an insult to the counter-culture of Hip Hop!

Playing off the double minority standards in the corporate world and trying to apply that to Hip- Hop (which was embarrassed by its own shiny suit era) makes no sense. Especially at a time now when promiscuous tween idols (why this music is being marketed to little girls, I do not know) like ex-stripper in clubs who now takes trips to Dubai to engage in more risque acts Cardi B, or Nicki Minaj, or Lil’ Kim. These are the only rappers mentioned in this laughable film that is supposed to push acceptance of young females in a counter culture film that is so mainstream it will make any Hip-Hop purist sick!

The only real emcees that get mentioned in this film that is supposed to celebrate Hip-Hop is MF DOOM (for one metaphor) and the protagonist (Bri) is caught wearing a Rapsody sweater for a few scenes, even though Rapsody is not a great example of an emcee since she slept her way into the underground Hip-Hop industry … just ask 9th Wonder. There was battle rap scenes, so why wasn’t Lady Luck or Ms. Fit present? Instead mumble rapper Lil’ Yachty got called a legend when Buffalo emcees Che Noir and 7xve surely would have been glad to get some screen time, but instead Mike Epps was hired to do his best impressions of STAR and Don King, which of course fell short. That man has been a horrible actor/comedian since “Next Friday” – and that was his first film!

The camera work by Eric Branco was solid when the characters first arrived in TrashLanta, using Atlanta as an extended backdrop in this film was completely disrespectful to the culture of Hip Hop which originated in New York, but in “On The Come Up”, Atlanta is treated like the Mecca. Disgusting. Though Jamila Gray is cute as she is naïveté in her portrayal of Bri, she should have fired her agent the moment she read the first scene of this script which was copy pasted from Scott Silver’s trash bin.

Lanthan’s whole film bites “8 Mile” and reimagines the struggle of a true emcee who has issues in regards to ethnic and socioeconomic groupage that he cant control but must overcome while “On The Come Up” is about a rapper who cries in the ring, threatens violence at the slightest insult and backs down when a gun is waved in her face. Honestly Bri getting her chain ran was the most entertaining part of the film. Admittedly, I did love to see the rap lifestyle get exposed (Bri’s meltdown at the radio station comes to mind), one of the major highlights of what was a very rushed and dated film (People still use Pandora?), and maybe one of the only lessons that can be gleaned from this film that tried to be inspirational, but just doubled down on stereotypes of inner-city melanated women who benefit from being a double minority (explain to me how Bri’s mother really was not able to get a job, I’ve traveled all over the states – she’s a shoe-in for customer service) and shifting the blame on everything else but themselves when things fall apart like the thrown together homosexual relationship in this forced woke film eventually will.

A message to people like Lantham : Put your propaganda in another culture, leave Hip-Hop alone! After the credits rolled I went and saw “Moonage” – a movie that actually celebrates music how it should be celebrated. If only I would have just skipped “On The Come Up”, I would not have slept through at least half of the Bowie bonanza; but then I would have missed seeing a supposed teenage girl get a gun jammed in her abdomen.

If that’s an acceptable trade off for you, then by all means, check out “On The Come Up”, but if that’s not enough to keep your interest, then avoid “On The Come Up” like the straight to streaming family it’s surrounded by. At least Paramount Plus still has Beavis & Butt-Head …

Score : 1.5/5

Director: Sanaa Lathan
Production design: N.C. Page Buckner
Set decoration: Cara Price
: J
amila Gray, Noa Dior Rucker, Sanaa Lathan & more…