BMF: The Rise & Fall of a Hip-Hop Drug Empire

| March 12, 2013

BMF: The Rise & Fall of a Hip-Hop Drug Empire is hands down one of the worst produced crime documentaries I’ve ever seen. With less production value than the likes of BET’s American Gangster and the History Channel’s Gangland, BMF follows the drug trafficking organization, the Black Mafia Family, created by the Flenory brothers, from its inception in Detroit in the late 1980’s, to its ultimate demise in the mid 2000’s. Hiding behind a rap label, the Black Mafia Family, with its connections to the Mexican cartels spread into a multimillion dollar enterprise, with reaches all over the country. While all of this information is certainly fascinating and the history behind the group is intriguing enough to fully supplant an hour long documentary, but the film fails in so many aspects that it becomes unbearable after the first 10 minutes.

What really struck a chord with me as I started watching the film, was that there was no representation of the BMF in the film. Sure, there’s archival footage of them in rap videos, pictures of the DEA raids on their stash houses and wiretap surveillance audio with various members. Other than this, there’s no actual first hand accounts from any of the members, their family members or anyone that was directly involved with the criminal organization. This made me feel like everything was much more one sided, than trying to portray insight to how a pair of brothers created a fully functional organized crime syndicate.

Another major problem in the film, was the recycling of materials to show off the groups illegal activities. The editor used some of the same photos and videos over and over again, to which it makes us wonder if the filmmakers were trying indoctrinate people at how bad this organization was. Everything feels a bit one sided and poorly cobbled together, that made me lose interest so quickly, that my mind was left wondering if there had been a better portrayal of this on American Gangster.

While I’ve never seen either episodes from Gangland or American Gangster, I’m sure that the production value is a hell of a lot better than what was offered in this doc. Once it was all over, I proceeded to look up the BMF in a Google search and found way more information in 5 minutes, than I did wasting my time with BMF: The Rise & Fall of a Hip-Hop Drug Empire. 

About the Author:

is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He's an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.
Filed in: Video and DVD

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