A Day in the Life: The Soundtrack
Sticky Fingaz bills his flick A Day in the Life as the first hip-hop musical. And whether one sees the movie as an extended music video (it was released straight to DVD), a morality play, or a bold foray into new creative territory, it is certainly an adventurous gambit. Musical concept albums are nothing new (one of this movie's tag lines -- "Hip Hopera" -- was even the title of Volume 10's 1995 misunderstood classic), but a whole motion picture choreographed to rap is relatively original. Opera is actually a more valid starting point to convey the feel of A Day in the Life; whereas in a musical, the dialogue is broken for song and vice-versa (and hip-hop's most prominent prior attempt at musical theater, Snoop Dogg's 18-minute "Murder Was the Case," would fit this model), opera never breaks the illusion of a world bound to melody. A Day in the Life never breaks meter, and its story, with its plots of revenge and remorse and betrayal and redemption, would be no more out of place in, say, Verdi's world than a singing fat lady. The movie, and as an extension, its thorough 39-part soundtrack, tells the story of Sticky Fingaz as his gangland alter-ego, a criminal mastermind whose brush with death (a home invasion) and new life (his newborn kid) scare him straight. Of course, in classic seventiesploitation style, all sorts of misadventure ensues, some better, some worse. The music itself is an entertaining triumph at times, but more often torturously awkward. But even when it stumbles, it is a fascinating failure, and Sticky Fingaz, a veteran as both actor and rapper, has enough charisma to make A Day in the Life, at the least a charming barn burner.