The Mars Project Jonathan Balazs

The Mars Project Jonathan Balazs
Khari "Conspiracy" Stewart was already a legend in the subterranean depths of Canada's hip-hop underground as one half of Supreme Being Unit with twin brother Addi "Mindbender" Stewart prior to his notoriety, gained from freaking out Roots drummer ?uestlove and posting random, rambling pronouncements on hip-hop message boards. The Mars Project, a five-minute documentary short from new Canadian filmmaker Jonathan Balazs, gets to the root of it all with an examination of the life-changing moment in Khari's life when, in the summer of 1997, he first opened H.P. Lovecraft's infamous occult book The Necronomicon and found himself cursed by an intergalactic being named Anacron. This otherworldly presence has since informed his music at every turn; his recent solo album, Sex is the Key to Immortality, discusses his fight to be free of this influence with songs like "I'm Cursed by a Demon" and "Demon Slayer," and helps to explain his possibly psychotic online outbursts. While Khari emphatically denies this haunting has anything to do with his massive drug consumption or potential mental illness, they are certainly possibilities that should have been given serious consideration but are only touched upon in the doc. And that's where The Mars Project falls short. Khari is an interesting individual with a lot to say, so five minutes is not enough time to do the subject justice. Investigations into the possibilities of possession and the probable alternatives would be a good addition to a longer study of the same subject. Still, it serves as a great introduction to the topic and goes a long way in offering insight into what makes this oddball MC tick. The DVD release also contains an even shorter tour documentary with DJ Weez-L, the man manning the two turntables for Edmonton MC Cadence Weapon, plus an artsy film short I still don't understand and a hard copy of a conspiracy interview Jon did for UGSMAG. (Jon B)