Crooked S. H. Fernando, Jr.

After 40 albums and a dozen singles, Wordsound Recordings has taken an ambitious step by trying to put their illbient stamp on the movie world with the straight-to-DVD Crooked. Label founder Skiz Fernando wrote, produced and directed this movie that would be best described as Krush Groove for a new, grittier generation — all on a low budget, of course. Unsurprisingly, none of the cast are professional actors, and sometimes it really shows; but it is worth noting that Mr Dead turns in a great performance as a crack-dealing pimp. A lot of blood, sweat and tears (if not a lot of money) were put into this project so the occasional transgression in acting can be excused, but what makes for the biggest flaw in the movie is the poor sound mix. There are often noticeable overdubs and edits, or just bad sound in general, such as the popping sound created from bad mixing during the "live" Anti-Pop Consortium performance.

So, is it actually necessary on DVD? Maybe not, since there are no extras nor track separations for quick searches. However, for fans of Wordsound, Sensational, or any struggling artist, Crooked is still a must have. It's a loose autobiography of the rise of an unrelenting rapper named Sensational (played by himself) and the birth of Wordsound Recordings, founded in the movie by a renamed Xane (played by Daniel Dejesus aka Mentol Nomad). As such, Crooked provides some great insights into the label (including the meaning behind the name) and the people around it. You can watch Sensational rock out while making a beat, lose to Anti-Pop Consortium in an open mic contest, and see his video for "Paper Chase," included at the end. Plus, there's the fun game of Spot the Infamous Underground Artist. Aside from the above mentioned Sensational, Mentol Nomad and APC, there are also appearances by graffiti legend Futura 2000, producers Bimos and Scotty Hard, rappers Paul Barman and Guy Albino, and Skiz Fernando himself, among others. Finally, the DVD is well-packaged and comes as a double set containing the CD soundtrack that focuses heavily on Sensational's music but also contains tracks by Prince Paul, Anti-Pop Consortium, Scotty Hard, Sebastian Laws (of New Kingdom), Mentol Nomad and Spectre.