As the Academy Awards have shown us, there are a lot of important elements that go into a great movie: costumes, acting, production, story, etc. In the case of Dope, the most standout category is certainly the soundtrack, featuring killer mixes from the best in the ’90s hip-hop game to current hip-hop and R&B rockstars. Busta Rhymes, Santigold, A Tribe Called Quest, and Public Enemy are just a few of the radio masters that come to mind, but trust me — if you see this movie for nothing else, see it (or I guess hear it) for the soundtrack.
Beyond the soundtrack, Dope delivers on being a fun movie with some important messages about what it’s like growing up as an outsider, and defying the expectations of your neighborhood and culture. The film starts off by introducing us to Malcolm, a straight-A student in Inglewood, California working towards the end of his junior year to get into his top college selection. Malcolm, joined by his best friends Jib and Diggy, struggle to get by as the “nerds” of the school, often falling victim to bullying, petty robbery, and of course, verbal abuse.