An Informative & Fascinating Documentary
Two men came together and changed the face of hip-hop forever – Estevan Oriol and Mister Cartoon. Together they helped define the art and style that ultimately transcended beyond hip-hop culture to capture iconic moments through time. Working from the ground up to superstardom, LA Originals is a celebratory self-reflection around the rise to fame these two successful icons achieved before offering up some commentary on the current state of affairs and the challenges they’ve faced along the way during the latter periods of the film.
LA Originals begins with the blending of styles and the upbringing of both Estevan and Cartoon. The film cuts back and forth between the two artists while peppering in talking head segments from some of the world’s biggest hip hop icons. From street murals and tours to Europe across to the success of Soul Assassin Studios and what lies beyond, LA Originals is an interesting deep dive through time and how art and culture can transform and evolve through different generations.
There’s a good pacing to LA Originals too and with plenty of archival footage shot during the time, the film captures those golden moments and showcases them in the best possible way. This raw footage is pretty eye opening and seeing the talent both these men possess and how they managed to capture key moments of various movements across the music scene is fascinating and enjoyable to watch.
Alongside the music is an equal emphasis on gang culture and the iconic symbology of graffiti that paints the streets. This ultimately reaches all the way across to games like Grand Theft Auto too which captures some of that striking Cartoon artwork so effectively.
Overall though, this is a really interesting dive into a different side of hip hop culture and the evolution of both art and photography over time is captured perfectly here. What’s particularly interesting and worth taking away from this is that hard work and tenacity can see you succeed in life. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and if you’re not working hard, the other guy will almost certainly outwork you. This is a great life lesson to take away and although it’s probably wise not to let kids watch this (especially given the amount of swearing), it’s a decent documentary nonetheless and worth your time.