Pump It Up: The Video

Dee Barnes’ syndicated video show, Pump It Up, is as streetwise, colorful, and downright fun as rap itself. Featuring just about every prominent rap artist known to humankind, this videotape is more than a mere best-of collection: It’s a collage, a charmingly chaotic tour through the hip-hop world with Barnes as our guide. One minute we’re walking through Trenton, N.J., freestyling with Poor Righteous Teachers, about to be led through a dizzying succession of scenes: We’re sitting on a couch with M.C. Hammer as he explains how he got his name; we’re in the gym with L.L. Cool J as he sweats it out on the Stairmaster; we’re with Barnes as she works the turntables with Mellow Man Ace, then has a giggly lunch with Queen Latifah, then speaks with die-hard vegetarian KRS-One, who solemnly equates red meat with crack (”Red meat has 21 different drugs in it; crack has 2”). Next it’s back to L.L. and back to Special Ed (this time, we’re eating ice cream), till we find ourselves in L.A. washing dishes with Ice-T. Phew. Get it? Got it? Good. Through it all, Dee Barnes is charming and engaging. Because she interacts with her guests as if she’s hanging out with them rather than interviewing them, we get a rare, intimate glimpse of the sometimes sober, sometimes silly creativity that fuels hip-hop culture. A

Pump It Up: The Video
  • Movie