Out on Bail, Vol. 2

From the opening scenes of this 55 minute documentary, the audience knows they’re into something they’ve probably never seen before, and possibly never even imagined. JayGee Entertainment has produced a stark, shocking, and raw follow up to the original Gangbangin’ Fo Life – which sold over 75,000 units.

Turning an unflinching camera onto poverty, violence, drug use, and other destructive behaviors, director Jay B.Rooks forces the audience to open their own eyes and bear witness to the stunning lifestyles and stories of gang members in Southern Los Angeles. This isn’t the Middle East. There’s no war happening in this country. In the footage of this film, though – all filmed on the streets of Compton, “Number ONE on the murder rate!”, boasts one man – you wouldn’t know that. In a neighborhood where making it to the age of 21 is considered lucky, and nearly everyone sports at least one gunshot wound, this documentary displays a world where every day is a constant struggle to survive.

Gangbangin’ Fo Life focuses on how some members of these neighborhoods choose to survive: by joining a gang. Through bleak narration by the director, we learn that due to jail time, unknown fathers, and the high murder rate, most young people in these neighborhoods are raised without the benefit of solid parenting, or even the benefits of ANY parenting. To fill this security void, seeking protection and familial bonds, many join gangs. One gang member talks about how joining a gang is just simple logic: if you’re not in a gang you’ll get beat up walking down the street every day. In such an atmosphere, how can anything but the “kill or be killed” mentality evolve?

From discussing how to make “Pruno” (a.ka. prison beer) using rotted fruit and a plastic bag, to nonchalantly demonstrating how easy it is to steal a car (including unlocking a locked steering wheel), to watching a self-proclaimed “crackhead” smoke heroin out of a Sprite can, Gang Bangin’ Fo Life is a grim window into a lifestyle that most of the American public is currently unaware of. Brandishing guns on the street, talking business with a drug dealer on the corner (he figures he pulls in around $400 a day), and whipping out dozens of hundred dollar bills at any time is not out of the ordinary in this world.

Ultimately, Gangbangin’ Fo Life is an unprocessed, unglamorized, and unrestrained look into a dangerous area and a dangerous lifestyle. The director never steps out from behind the camera, Michael Moore style, to try to prove a point. What B.Rooks manages to do instead makes the film even more impressive. Allowing the audience to watch the footage and judge for themselves, B.Rooks is simply presenting information that otherwise would have remained out of the public eye. Only at the very end of the film does Brooks begin to mention the lack of educational funding, the cost of a foreign war, and the self-destructive attitudes of the gang members themselves. Although B.Rooks offers little in the way of solutions, bringing this story off the streets and onto the screens is a helpful first step in making positive change.

No one will walk away from this film laughing, and that’s clearly not the intention. While modern day hip-hop, music videos, and movies celebrate the gang lifestyle in an unrealistic and falsely fashionable way, Gangbangin’ Fo Life isn’t afraid to put the real story out there for viewers to see. The result is an honest display of not just hardcore street life, but as one gangmember states in the film, “the hardest core that there is”. It may be too shocking for some viewers, but anyone who enjoys popular hip hop fashion should feel that it is their duty to at least investigate the dark underbelly of gang lifestyles.

For more information visit http://www.streetgangs.com/ 
Visit YouTube to view the trailer (which has been viewed over 1 million times)
To purchase Gangbangin’ Fo Life Volume 2, visit Amazon

Be Sociable, Share!