featuring: tour movie, music video, multi-camera live concert footage, definitive jux label documentary, 5.1 digital surround sound, audio CD with RJD2 mega-mix, three exclusive live tracks, devolution interactive trivia game.
year of release: 2003
website: definitivejux.net
In the few years of Definitive Jux' existence, it accomplished a lot, amongst it such small features as lastingly influencing the way this hip hop thing is done. You can now argue if this DVD is meant or set to close a chapter. It can also just be a moment of here and now. But when El is kneeling to the ground to kiss the floor of his apartment once he gets back from the tour, it's almost like a: 'aight, done that, I'm just about ready for something else and new.'
The moment as described is part of the main section of the DVD, an hour long Tour Movie, where we follow Mr. Lif, RJD2 and El-P through the unglamorous reality of long tours. They take us through the States, through Europe. And at times you're stuck with 'em on the tour bus or tour van, at times you laugh with 'em, you're bored with 'em, you're getting the adrenaline going when you enter the stage with 'em, you listen to anecdotes of guests like Cage and Copywrite. You do this and that and it's as tours are. With one of the funniest moments appearing when Lif and El discuss how disgusting it is to shake all these people's hands. That's especially funny the next time the moment arises when you can shake El's or Lif's hand. Also, all through the movie are excerpts from various interviews, further taking us into the philosophies of the label, of rap of life of this and that.

Watch the trailer.
Launch "Revenge of the Robots" e-card.
While the tour footage is the big chunk part of the DVD, two different sections might just have a more lasting impression. One thing is the videos, that are all incredible. And when you look at what kind of celluloid wasteland is taking home awards nowadays, these are worthy of infinite props. Be it the animated "Stepfather Factory", the pure "DeepSpace 9mm" or the humorous, while kinda typical bling bling with a twist tale of Murs' "Risky Business" (here we also get a making of), or even the hunted "The Horror" video for RJD2's favorite (and interestingly enough: for that making of you need to get "The Horror" EP CD), to mention almost all of 'em. The impression lies in the visualization, the way the already excellent music was furthered and enhanced by images, realized by people that are at least as artistic as the musicians. As well as they are really able to capture the spirit of the songs in their language.
Also impressive is the label documentary. Done by a European TV channel some time ago (and after that spread on the web), it was done many releases ago. Therefore the center piece of the soundtrack are El-P beats off the CanOx release. And once again it's the combination of pictures, here including lengthy walks through the streets of New York, and the music that shows how incredible it is what this label has put out (what's also the fuel for the present frustration with some of the current releases). Adding to that are in depth, sarcastic, mocking, sad, and real commentaries by El-P, Aesop and Vast. You could get all mushy and say that part of the story is told by the eyes of the one speaking, but that'd be inappropriate. Instead we just mention: this behind the curtain look will have the appreciation and awe for the art only grow.
Well, these three are the main aspects of the disc, what however is not everything we get. There's more show footage, plus we get a audio CD with a RJD2 mix, some live tracks, and we get a Devolution interactive trivia game. And everything is in a very well done visual package by the Deconstruction people. Making everything appealing to the eyes, making the gap between the odd DVD that everyone is doing lately, to this professional package wider than anyone can casually jump.
So, a closure or just a moment in time? Probably the first, as you do get the feeling of doing this and moving on. Not because the involved artists want to leave anything behind. Nope, the identification with the material is still omnipresent. But as groundbreaking Definitive Jux was/is, a true legend finds new grounds to explore and if the time is right, expand or steps beyond. And in a way this DVD is already part of that. Because we haven't received a DVD from anyone in the Def Jux league that was as professionally well done and extensive. Therefore, that ground was just broken.
review: tadah
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