Yahoo Music has an exclusive look at the brand-new trailer for the upcoming hip-hop documentary film Risen: The Story of Chron “Hell Razah” Smith. The trailer also serves as a new song and music video of sorts by hip-hop vet R.A. the Rugged Man and producer Mr. Green. The song — dubbed “The Evolution of Rap” — charts the history of hip-hop music and culture as it traces back to Wu Tang Clan, Sunz of Man, and Hell Razah.
Directed by Frank Meyer, Risen: The Story of Chron “Hell Razah” Smith is the story of Wu Tang Clan affiliate Hell Razah of the RZA-produced group Sunz of Man, who suffered a brain aneurism in 2010 and has been struggling to walk, talk, and rap ever since. Meyer also directed the R.A. music video, which was shot for the film and now serves as a peek into the hip-hop side of the film.
Hell Razah has always been a celebrated MC, known for his sharp lyrics and intricate flow. A founding member of the group Sunz of Man — who cracked the Billboard Top 20 with their 1998 remake of Earth, Wind & Fire’s classic “Shining Star” alongside the band Wyclef Jean and Ol’ Dirty Bastard — Razah was discovered and mentored at age 14 by Wu Tang leader RZA and groomed for success. Later dubbed “Heaven Razah” when he went solo in the mid-2000s, the rising young MC made headlines when he was stricken with the brain aneurysm.
Hell Razah has spent the last eight years slowly recovering from this near-fatal incident, which left him in a coma and unable to use the left side of his body. As Razah has been struggling to learn how to walk, talk, and rhyme again, filmmaker Frank Meyer has been documenting his journey every step of the way. The director and Hell Razah go way back, as Meyer was Sunz of Man’s publicist back in 1997 and later filmed Razah for his G4tv web series Freestyle 101, a series that also featured Ice-T, the Game, Mobb Deep, and Cypress Hill, and was recognized by Steve Jobs at an Apple conference. The resulting documentary film, Risen: The Story of Chron “Hell Razah” Smith, is the result of seven years of filming and 20 years of friendship.
“Razah’s story is one everyone can relate to,” says Meyer. “He was a talented kid from the streets who worked hard and nearly achieved all of his dreams before this tragedy struck. Now his life has been completely refocused. A lot of rappers will tell you about how they have been shot nine times, but they won’t let you see them struggling through the rehab process or questioning their future. He also was a dope rapper, and R.A. lets you know exactly where he stands in hip-hop history with this song.”
Risen: The Story of Chron “Hell Razah” Smith provides an uncompromising look into the world of rehabilitation and redemption, the likes of which hip-hop has never seen before. From Razah’s physical therapy to his spiritual journey, his quest to rap again, and his desire to love again, audiences’ emotions will rise and fall with this charismatic kid from the projects in Red Hook, who almost had it all and is now fighting to rebuild his life.
“The only person I would trust to tell my story is Frank,” Razah confesses. “He was there in the beginning of my career, and we stayed friends all these years. After the aneurism, I was very self-conscious and hesitant to give anyone access to my private life, but I knew I was in the right hands with him. And to have R.A. and Mr. Green put my story to music was a blessing and an honor.”
Risen: The Story of Chron “Hell Razah” Smith stars Wu Tang’s RZA, Cappadonna and Popa Wu, Sunz of Man members Killah Priest, Prodigal Sunn, 60-Second Assassin and Shabazz the Disciple, producer A. Supreme Wilder, rappers such as R.A. the Rugged Man, Ras Kass, and Crooked I, industry heavyweight Randy Phillips (AEG, Global Entertainment), Hell Razah’s family and friends, and many more.
The film just got accepted to the People’s Film Festival in Harlem, New York, and a release date is still to be announced.
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