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September 08, 1995 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-08

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16- The Michigan Daily -Friday, September 8, 1995

'Show' shows little about rap community

By Eugene Bowen
Daily Arts Writer
With current anti-hip hop propa-
ganda efforts gaining steam every-
where from Capital Hill to the court-
room, "The Show" was supposed to
be a lifesaver: Russell Simmons, CEO
of Rush Communications, tag-team-
ing with some of the most popular,
and popularly despised, rappers to
present a united front to explain and
defend the history, upbringing and
purpose of rap music in the fabric of
American life. Documentaries aren't
the most lucrative films, but with a
stellar "cast," which includes Notori-
ous B.IG., Dr. Dre and Slick Rick,
crowds were bound to roll in to gain
some knowledge from those who
make their living in hip hop.
A noble plan, but alas, not the one
Simmons, obviously the brains be-
hind this flick, had in mind. Instead of
taking this opportunity to inform and
educate inanentertaining way (some-
thing those featured inthis show could
easily have done), "The Show" is a

Rtvrnw
The Show
Directed by Brian
Robbins; with Russell
Simmons and various rap
artists
At Showcase
hodge-podge ofincoherent ramblings
about oftentimes trivial topics inter-
spersed with footage of rappers
onstage. While the performances will
probably grab your attention, the rest
of "The Show" won't.
What is the purpose of hip hop?
What are its positives? If you don't
know, go view "The Show." And
come out as clueless as you were
when you walked in. This isn't to say
that rappers didn't have thoughts about
their work and the current contro-
versy surrounding it. Dr. Dre was
quick to explain that rapping about
doing something and actually doing it
aren'tthesame. WarrenGtalked about
how scandalous some can get once
inside the business saying, "When
you come in as friends, [the music
industry] breaks you up." Even Slick
Rick tried to get deep. He said, "You
gotta fight fire with water." (I don't
know what the hell he was talking
about. Then again how many people
ever know what the hell he's talking
about?) Unfortunately, what these
guys and others had to say couldn't
have much impact on the audience as
it was stuff we've all heard before.
Wu-Tang Clan's Ghost Face Killa
discussed very, very briefly life as a
child born into a poor, crime-ridden
neighborhood. But, his soliloquy falls
flat as he doesn't even attempt to
relate this to the importance of hip

hop. In fact, you get no type of corre-
lation between rap lyrics and real life
experiences until almost the movie's
end when Naughty by Nature's Kay
Gee says, "We're crying out about
our environment. We're crying out
about the system."
There's little time for discussing
important issues, but when it comes
to frivolity, "The Show" seems to
have all the time in the world. It's
discomforting when you hear
Simmons explaining what he sees as
the true meaning of "fuck the police,"
one of the most hated refrains to gain
popularity in the community ('til Ice
T's "Cop Killer" of course), in one
sentence while Raekwon is given
ample time to devote to the topic of
what type of weed helps rappers to
spit the best lyrics. And footage of
groupie ho's begging Warren G to
sex 'em? Director Brian Robbins
could've kept that. Snoop, and the
entire Doggpound, comes out look-
ing like a bony, bush-haired front,
and Slick Rick, being interviewed in
his new home, the pen, came out
soundinguncharacteristically humble.
As for L.L. Cool J's appearance on
"The Show?" If you blinked at the
wrong moment, you probably missed
him. Even some of Black music's
most important businessmen- Suge
Knight, CEO of Death Row Records,
and Sean "Puffy" Combs, CEO of
Def JamRecords -who appeared on
"The Show" came out looking like
mindless dopes with as little purpose
as the documentary they were being
featured in.
One bright spot in "The Show"
centered about a roundtable discus-
sion among some of rap's old-school
pioneers, including Whoudini, Run
DMC and Kid Kreole. Here, we find
true rap artists discussing what many

I -g
The Wu-Tang Clan Is one of the rap groups featured In 'The Show.'

of them see as a generally degenera-
tive new school. They blasted what
they see as lackluster live rap perfor-
mances. The lamented the fakeness
and lack of ingenuity on the part of
many of their successors. While they
were on target with their assertions,
their inability, as well as the inability
of everyone else in "The Show," to
devote a legitimate amount of time to
uplifting the positive aspects of hip
hop, did more to discredit the entire
industry than Bob Dole and Rush
Limbaugh ever could.
Furthermore, the sore-thumb ab-
sence of Ice Cube and Ice T, two ofthe
deepest brothas in the hip hop industry
(though I confess, I'm not sure if Ice T
should still be considered a part of the
biz), created an aura of emptiness and
unrealness about "The Show," as did

the complete ignorance of female pio-
neers who had to struggle even harder
to gain even half the respect of their
male counterparts. This snubbing of
such well-knowns as Queen Latifah
and MC Lyte is inexcusable.
What could be found in heaping
doses were rappers swinging freely
all over Simmons' nut sack. Granted,
the man deserves many props be-
cause he's been a driving force be-
hind the surge in rap popularity since
the heyday of Run DMC, when it
comes down to it, that's what this
movie was really all about. "The
Show" wasn't about the industry. It
wasn't about the irreplaceable legacy
rap music has left. It wasn't about
why hip hop shouldn't be allowed to
die. "The Show" was almosttwo hours
ofRussell Simmons self-glorification.

And, Simmons' longing to gain per-
sonal glory from this flick is the re4-
son behind its being a complete dis-
appointment.
No one wants to go to a movie
theater to be preached to. However, in
the case of "The Show" a little learning
is exactly what the audience needed ...
and exactly what it didn't get. Whether
Simmons realized it ornot, "The Show"
is, in the eyes of many, more than just a
movie; it is the representative of all hip
hop is and is not. "The Show" didn't
represent. It was a ridiculous waste of
time. No hip hop documentary made in
the next decade can erase the wrongs
"The Show" committed onthe rap com-
munity. Wethoughtthatifanyonecould
argue the case of hip-hop supporters it
would be Russell Simmons. We were
wrong.

Run DMC is another featured act.

Chessmaster 4000
Mindscape
Chessmaster 4000, the ump-
teenth version in the Chessmaster
series is the first CD-ROM ver-
sion and, consequently, the most
graphically interesting of the lot.
As the versions have progressed,
Mindscape has felt compelled to
add feature upon feature which
makes the array of options unend-
ing, but the clutter unbearable.
There are twelve different
types of chess sets including the
classic Staunton as well as dino-
saurs, insects, and fantasy crea-
tures. The chess board selection
includes an incredible Dali-esque
chess board complete with melt-
ing clocks and sharp color con-
trast. There is a catalog of over
200 opening moves and their re-
spective "opening books" (for the
uninitiated, that's all the best
countermoves based on an open-
ing position). In addition to these
features, there are ten different
displays, a natural language advi-
sor, a catalog of 1500 classic chess
games, a history of chess (a CD-
ROM video movie reminiscent of

John Belushi: high school chess
coach), a chess rating system, and
an ability to program the charac-
ter of the computer opponent.
Now, what ever happened to
the simple game that you play on
a board? Grandiosity is both the
biggest benefit and the biggest
drawback of this game. When all
of the hoopla of graphics, data-
bases, and analyzers gets old, it
becomes the same old game. Could
you really play chess with insects
pieces anyway? The game is also
very cluttered. For example, when
the advice window is opened dur-
ing game play, it appears right
over the chess board blocking your
view of the game for which you
asked advice.
The game does provide a very
detailed tutorial that will give any
novice a grounding in the basics
as well the strategy of chess. In
this way, it allows novices to con-
tinually improve their knowledge
and skills. It also provides a chal-
lenge for skilled players like Boaz
Weinstein, nationally ranked
chess player and LSA Senior.
According to him, Chessmaster
plays well, but does not play like

a strong human player. It is un-
able to change piece valuations as
the game progresses which is why
Grandmasters beat computers
regularly. Still, it can beat 99% of
all players. According to Boaz,
the best way to get better is to get
a grounding in the basics and play
a lot. He recommended the
Internet Chess Server (ICS) which
can be accessed rather easily
through Netscape (Escapes: En-
tertainment: Chess: Chess Serv-
ers: ICS). ICS allows you to play
people at virtually any level
through the internet. ICS also has
a library of games, real Grand-
masters online, and a variety of
other goodies. Check it out. It's
free. If you want to impress your
chess geek friends, get the soon to
be released Chessmaster 5000.
Rumor has it you can download
Bobby Fisher into your living
room.
- Gianluca Montalti
Descent
Interplay
PC CD-ROM
If any game were to challenge

4nd surpass the sensational and
ultra-violent "Doom," then "De-
scent" is that game. After the suc-
cess of "Doom" spawned hundreds
of cheap and unworthy imitators,
there hasn't been a game to even
come close to overpowering it ...
until now. "Descent" takes all the
excellent animation and design
that made "Doom" such a great
game, and adds even more to the
excitement, creating a spectacu-
lar and thrilling adventure.
"Descent" is another first-per-
son style game, but this time, play-
ers fly a spaceship through the
usual metallic structure, with great
sound effects and animation. "De-
scent" has combined flight simu-
lation and combat to create a fresh
and exciting game.
Good or bad, "Descent" doesn't
have the same level of violence
that "Doom" had. There is very
little violence to realistic objects,
mainly because all the enemies
are robots. If you liked "Doom"
for the action, there is even more
of it here, and game play is more
exciting and also more challeng-
ing with having to fly. While see-
ing blood splatter and hear snarls
and screams through "Doom"
helped the game get its fame, "De-
scent" is much cleaner, and greatly
benefits from it.
"Descent" also has a great,
three-dimensional map that helps
to guide pilots through the mazes
of passageways and tunnels. The
graphics are also great, and play-
ers can blow up just about every-
thing in sight, including the entire
maze of steel after completing
each level. It's great and exciting
fun, and if the bouncing screen
motion of "Doom" made you sick,
the spinning and diving of your

ship in this game will definitely
give your stomach a ride for its
money.
-Brian A. Gnatt
World Cup Interactive
Softbit
What does "World Cup Inter-
active" sound like to you? A
game? An soccer online service?
It is actually a newspaper style
database with game, player, and
tournament descriptions dating
back to the first World Cup. So, if
you wanted to know what the score
was in the first round match be-
tween Finland and Angola in the
1950 World Cup, it's all right
there. Unless you're a World Cup
history afficionado, however,
most of the stuff is worthless.
The best feature is 45 minutes
of tournament footage. It is far
from complete, however. It
doesn't even have video clips from
the 1990 World Cup final. Can
you believe that it doesn't even
include this past year's Cup?
"WCI" does have some interest-
ing clips from World Cup matches
in the seventies and eighties. Un-
fortunately, the clips are sparce
and their absence is due to
Softbit's laziness in procuring the
proper footage. The company is
trying to fool people into buying a
mediocre product. If the next ver-
sion is more complete, it may ac-
tually be worth a real soccer fan's
30 bucks.
- Gianluca Montalti

It's the ultimate game concept.
Ever since the beginning of civili-
zation, we have been interested in
war strategy. Since we don't go
around declaring war on each other
for fun anymore (or at least we
should not), war games are the
best way to channel that energy.
Chess works for some, but for
those that want a the realism of
Caesar's conquest of Gaul or
Alexander's Asian domination,
there can be no substitute for "Le-
gions."
Now, the game does have its
flaws. The most pronounced one
is, well, the lack of battles. You
are responsible for economic, dip-
lomatic, and military policy which
is expressed in a limited fashion
for the most part, but the out-
comes of policy are calculated by
the computer. So, essentially it is
a role playing game. Scoff not,
however, because "Legions: Em-
pire," the CD-ROM version is,
slated to come out this summer
and supposedly has more ad-
vanced features including real war
strategy like you read in Roman
History books! Another major
problem may not be solved so eas-
ily. The game lasts forever. Even
if your armies are decimated and
you have nothing left, the game
continues. If you're stuck on an
island with nobody to conquer,
the game continues. In addition,
winning or losing contests seems
to be completely subjective. All
you get is the outcome without
any details.
If Mindscape can come up with
something closer to the ideal,
hordes of amateur Napoleons
should rightly flock.
- Gianluca Mon talti

o you know where your student ID is? How about your k e ?
Your computer disk with the t em pape r Q that's due today?
YoUr ATM card? __
kn iu AMO' tabout 1 a1 Rp UK R .
Wh alyou hawebing iswhatyouneedtoopy.
I Oh yeah, and some money.
But not as much i you mentionthisad
" upstairs from Rick's NooaterdI«xt

Legions
Mindscape

STUDENTS
Give Walking Tours
Plan Parents Weekend
Network with Alumni
Ooerate AluMnet

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