There has long been talk of a coordinated effort among law-enforcement agencies across the country to keep tabs on rappers. Hip-hop fan and first-time director Don Sikorski set out to see for himself.
The result is "Rap Sheet: Hip-Hop and the Cops," an 80-minute documentary that premiered last year at the IFC Center in New York. Now available on DVD through Screen Media Films, Sikorski's film includes footage of questionable police activity and (often grainy) interviews with some of the biggest names in rap. They insist there are "hip-hop cops" violating their civil liberties, while various former law-enforcement officials say the authorities are drawn by criminal elements in the rap world.
It's a complex subject, which Sikorski acknowledges at the start. "A war is raging between hip-hop and law enforcement," reads text on the screen as the film begins. "As with most wars, right and wrong are not always obvious."
That's for sure.