Innovative, unique and novel are just a few words that could describe filmmaker Kenzo Hakuta’s, City of God’s Son. Despite borrowing from different mediums including film and music (specifically hip-hop), and fusing them with the directive of a playwright, Kenzo Digital is ultimately able to reinvent the wheel. Nas already suggested that No idea is original there is nuthin new under the sun; as is the case with of City of God’s Son, where Kenzo utilizes previous works, i.e. familiar verses, movie sound bites and reconstructs them to his own fitting thereby creating something unheard of.
When I first came across this title, I thought it was some sort of homage to Nasir Jones naturally because of the semblance to the title of his 2002 release but was pleasantly surprised to find it was much more complex. On the surface City of God’s Son is a story that details the transition from adolescence to adulthood of three childhood friends played by the aforementioned Nas, Jay-Z and Ghost Face Killah. The cast also includes the great late Biggie Smalls (Jay-Z's older brother...how fitting...), Raekwon (Ghost's cousin) and Joe Baatan who narrates the story as an older Nas (more or less the protagonist) reminiscing about his youth.
This tragic story communicates via subtext, meaning nothing is explicitly said by the characters in the story however the themes become understood by the listeners, or rather made apparent to the listeners through movie outtakes that include notable figures like Rodney Little, Elmo McElroy and Furious Styles. Obviously, the many verses sprinkled throughout this musical opus also divulge the ideas contained in City of God’s Son.
Apart from the obvious dedication, research and hard work invested by Kenzo Digital, the allure of this project not only lies in his noticeable creativity but in the manner he chooses to engage his audience. Kenzo relies on listeners juggling their memories via the recognized verses, interview and movie outtakes to drive home the plot. True hip-hop heads or anybody that appreciates creativity for that matter should definitely give City of God’s Son a listen and then patiently wait for Part II.
TURN OFF THE RADIO!