Great Hip Hop Hoax, The

The Great Hip Hop Hoax (18)

There is a moment in this fascinating documentary when it becomes clear that the central protagonists, immersed in a mighty lie that kept on growing, went more than a little bit mad.

For Billy Boyd and Gavin Bain, aka rappers Silibil N’ Brains, it was when they were no longer playing characters. Instead their characters had completely taken over to the point that they no longer knew who they were and what they were doing.

The Great Hip Hop Hoax presents the astonishing tale of desperate Scots duo Boyd and Bain who, unable to push past critics’ sniffy comments about their impenetrable accents, re-record their songs in American accents and reinvent themselves.

Acquiring the type of overnight success that only happens in the movies – and a chunky deal from Sony – they hit the PR circuit and land a major gig. And they do it masquerading as Californians. They walk, talk, behave and operate as West Coast rappers.

They have a plausible back-story that completely takes in industry veterans who really should know better. But as the con mushrooms so the constant pressure of being found out begins to tell.

Recalled by the hoaxers themselves and the people they took in, this clever yet simple film adopts the King’s New Clothes approach in that nobody seemed to catch on to what was a fairly obvious scam. Even Boyd and Bain can barely believe their luck.

It is Scottish pals and girlfriends who provide the voices of reason, detailing their concerns that both men became mesmerised by the speed and growth of their lies until they were unable to stop it.

The thrill of Jeanie Finlay’s modest little film is in waiting for the train to come off the rails, as it surely must. Bizarrely the detective work was done by Daniel Bedingfield who, after meeting one of the boys, smelled a rat. Suddenly the flimsy house of cards came tumbling down.

But for a brief time everyone was raving about these bright new stars. And, of course, the point is that they had to hide to be seen.

On staggered release.

Star rating: ****

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