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The documentary follows 26-year-old Jasun “Half-a-Mill” Wardlaw, a hip hop artist from Building 193 in the Albany Projects in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. By the time he was 7 years old, Half was sharing a gun with his brother, because he was sick of people putting guns in his face in the elevator of his building and not being able to do anything about it.
Half’s been running with the same guys since he was real little, and they’re his crew. But he’s the one with the record deal that will take all of them out of the projects if they can make it out. Half wants it so bad he can taste it, but until it happens, he’ll deal drugs, sell guns, bootleg his own tapes – do what he has to do, in order to support himself, his family and his music.
Told through the eyes of Half, the story captures him and his crew as they write, perform and launch their first album in a desperate bid to escape nihilism, poverty and death.
Slant Magazine called the documentary “One of the more intimate and revealing looks at American projects ever made” and blogger Dean Treadway of Filmicability said the film is “One of the premier documents of the Hip Hop Age, and as such deserves a large audience, because it humanely holds nothing back.”
Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times called the film “Intimate and never condescending” noting that Hadleigh-West’s “On-the-fly shooting style opens a portal to an alien land, a corner of America where many whites fear to tread.”
Hadleigh-West takes the audience into an underground world of poverty, gangs, violence and music that is rarely seen in this manner—unless you live it.
“My whole life as an artist that’s my rap, that’s my rhyme… I gave up a lot of shit to do this hip hop shit man,” said Half-a-Mill. “I could be in my fucking car transporting some shit to another state and getting paid everyday. But I want to make it the way I want to make it, I want to do something better… “