Dear VH1, The Breaks Was Dope, But You Played Me. » VSB

Featured, Music, Pop Culture

Dear VH1, The Breaks Was Dope, But You Played Me.

VH1 screenshot


Last night, VH1 finally premiered The Breaks, a “movie” they’ve been promoting for the better part of the past two months. Why did I put “movie” in quotes?

I’ll tell you why. It’s because VH1 is rude as fuck and played my life, b.

Let’s start at the beginning: The Breaks is a “movie” based on a book called The Big Payback by Dan Charnas about three friends (Tristan “Mack” Wilds as DeeVee, Afton Williamson as “Nikki” and David Call as “David”) in 1990 who are trying to break into this rising world of hip-hop, each in their own way. DeeVee is a producer trying to find his rapper muse and willing to venture into the projects, Steve Stoute style, to find him; Nikki is the super passionate woman trying to break into the hip-hop industry “by any means necessary”; and David is Nikki’s boyfriend and the rich kid son of a music industry heavyweight who believes in hip-hop and is trying to figure out how to be the white guy that just wants the music to win.

Tossed in are various rappers (Method Man plays DeeVee’s hip-hop hating father in a twist of comedic irony), other stars (Wood Harris plays Barry Fouray, the owner of a successful hip-hop management company – think Violator), and up and coming actors. It was very entertaining and I enjoy seeing hip-hop on screen, especially the early New York years.

Which is why VH1 is rude as fuck. VH1 billed this as a movie. Except it wasn’t. It was a two-hour pilot that ended with AT LEAST three cliffhangers. As it turns out, The Breaks, is a “movie” that will stand as the opening salvo of a TV series, should it become one.

My nigga. That’s fucked up.

So VH1 hasn’t even decided to pick the TV show up for a series BUT thought it was okay to play with my emotions by creating a TV show about my first true love, call it a “movie”, not end it like motherfucking Straight Outta Brooklyn – if you’ll remember, this movie did not end, it stopped…who are we kidding, you do not remember that movie – and then make me sit on my hands as I wait to see what happens with the characters they forced me to be invested in because my television has been telling me that The Breaks was coming on at 9pm on January 4th since November.

Yo, VH1? You rude as fuck.

When do I find out if enough people watched the premiere to warrant picking the show up as a series? Today? Next Tuesday? March, my nigga? That’s not right. I did my part. Do your part, VH1. Either end the shit within the two-hours that you asked me to pay attention, or big-up the upcoming series DURING the “movie” so that I don’t get pissed when its 1045pm and I realize that there are 4 storylines that need to be wrapped up in the next 12 minutes because of commercials only to have it dawn on me, “oh, this ain’t even a movie. It’s just a pilot for a TV show that VH1 hasn’t announced is happening yet. I have now entered my feelings.”

To be clear, I really enjoyed the movie. It’s a tad paint-by-numbers in some places, but what isn’t nowadays? The characters are developed pretty well early on and above all else, it’s FULL of music from the early 90s that I love and miss. I miss it so much I throw a monthly party JUST so I can pay somebody to play this music while other people listen to it with me. That’s how real I am with my 90s standom. Really real. And you know that makes it real, because I said real twice. Well actually I said “really” real, but you get the point. It’s real is the point.

Point is, The Breaks is like 8 Mile meets Empire meets Brown Sugar meets Beat Street.

And VH1 knows this and banked on it. Everybody knows that for hip-hop, the whole damn 90s has overtaken 1988 as the hip-hop golden standard and the era where hip-hop found its way. You say 90s and its like a dogwhistle to anybody born from 1970 to 1985. To that end, I truly appreciate VH1 for even going this route with a show that looks to be both fun, entertaining, and provide a look at some of the pure ridiculousness of hood-niggas-gon’-business as we saw from Fouray Management owner Barry Fouray (Wood Harris) when he found out his best friend was stealing money from him.

Point is, I invested my heart and soul into The Breaks and its rude for VH1 to not do the same for me. And you. Your mother and your cousin, too. You know some of your mothers and cousins were watching that movie last night. And if you don’t know, now you know. See what I did there? It’s hip-hop, yo.

VH1? Do better. Do not continue to play with my emotions in this fashion.

And if you tell me that these are the breaks, I will be forced to respond with touché.

But I will not be happy about it.

Because it’s rude.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at

  • I need to watch the second half of The Breaks because sleepy but I liked what I saw.

    *sidenote* Michael Slager received bail last night.

    • KB

      “Michael Slager received bail last night”
      That news pissed me off to no end and kind of took away from my enjoyment of The Breaks

  • KB

    The “end” of the breaks was very disappointing in how it left us all hanging. I haven’t been this disappointed since I was 16 and close to losing my virginity when the chick’s sister walked in the house.

    • panamajackson

      That’s some high level disappointment.

  • miss t-lee

    So apparently I didn’t miss much?

    • KB

      Not really. The best part of the movie was the score, because of our obsession with anything 90s related. Oh and having this weird feeling wash over you from seeing M.E.T.H.O.D. MAN playing an old, crotchety, mean, hip-hop hating middle-aged suburban dad.

      • miss t-lee

        LOL! Oh I bet seeing Meth as somebodies dad was pretty strange.
        Yeah, between this and some of the chatter I saw on twitter, I got the feeling that it wasn’t much to miss.

        • OSHH

          That is what I heard, that it was all types of bs minus the 90’s music and when one has lived the era, unless they nail it, I can do without fluff versions of them.

          • panamajackson

            It wasn’t BS at all. I didn’t check the Twitter-verse, but as a tv show, it would be fun to watch. It wasn’t anything close to BS or bad.

            • OSHH

              Well we’ll see if I get a chance to watch, the main gripe is that it was lacking authenticity.

              • panamajackson

                And see, I didn’t get that at all. I’d be curious as to why. Part of my wonder was that there wasn’t really enough present yet to lack authenticity.

            • KingsCounty

              i’m really starting to have a gripe with “us” on twitter. i just knew that nbc “the wiz” was gonna be heavily applauded on twitter, but i told a friend that i bet had the exact same showing came on bet or vh1 it woulda got clowned.
              i think cuz it was nbc ppl loved it, even tho it was actually good. this “movie” was actually good also but because of the network it didnt get the good reviews. anything viacom gets trashed basically it seems.
              we hate the grammys, but we trash all of our award shows.

          • miss t-lee

            Ha. I can understand.

      • Aly

        Well apparently Andre 3000 is playing a suburban dad in the new season of American Crime. He was wearing a cardigan in the commercial I saw last night. A cardigan.

        • KB

          I thought that was him in the promo but it was so quick I couldn’t really tell.

          • Aly

            Yeah I actually had to Google it lol. I was like, wait, was that…?? Yes, it was.

            • KingsCounty

              so american crime is good? i havent watched cuz i havent heard any chatter about it anywhere.
              but at this point i’m starting to think Regina King deserves some kind of lifetime achievement award and should be called the mother of black actresses in america. her resume is thoro and i cant think of anything she’s been terrible in and i dont see her slowing down anytime soon.
              her role in this past season of “the leftovers” on HBO was powerful.

              • Aly

                The first episode aired on Thursday, and it’s good so far! Not much has happened yet. The characters were introduced and we now know the main storyline, but they’re doing a slow build. Regina and Andre play the parents of a star basketball player who may have been witness to (or participated in?) the r*pe of a boy at a party. Regina, as usual, is wonderful. You should check it out!

        • miss t-lee

          Word? I might watch it this season.

          • Aly

            That’s what I said too! Him and Regina King got me excited to watch. It’s also a new storyline this season, which is good because I didn’t watch the last one.

            • miss t-lee

              Yeah, I missed the last season too, even though I heard Regina King did a great job.

        • Last season was good. The characters went for likable to unlikable and back so fast that it kept me intrigued.

          • Aly

            Yeah, my mom really enjoyed it. Looking forward to watching it this season.

    • panamajackson

      I’m gonna disagree with this. It was good. I highly recommend watching it. I’m just upset that its not a movie and they left so much open without telling me that it will be addressed via the TV show coming soon on VH1. That’s what got me. I was heavily invested and given your hip-hop predilections, I think you’ll enjoy it too.

      • miss t-lee

        Gotcha. So they left a whole bunch of cliffhangers that will hopefully be addressed in the upcoming tv show? Is the show a for sure thing? I saw a RT in which one of the actors was asking folks to petition VH1 to make sure it happens.
        And…you’re right…anything hip hop related, i’m sure I’d enjoy it just for the music.

    • The parts of the show that I saw were good.

      • miss t-lee

        I might check for it.

        • It’s better than Twerk the Floor or whatever that show with the cheerleaders is called on VH 1.

          • miss t-lee

            Never heard of it…lol

          • panamajackson

            This is not true. Hit The Floor is dope and Kimberly Elise is on that show looking like a bag of money.

            • tgtaggie

              +1 on Kimberly Elise. She got to be drinking the same shark blood ish like Pharrell. The onlyother reason why I watch it bc Logan Browning is my future baby mama. Lol

  • So it was pretty much like Being Mary Jane? I wonder how it’ll do as a series considering Netflix’s The Get Down is set to debut sometime in Spring I believe.

    • panamajackson

      Hmm…at least with Being Mary Jane, we knew there was a show to coincide with the two episode premiere. This was a pilot masquerading and promoted as a movie.

      • Dougie

        Nah, Mary Jane started with a 2 hour “movie” as well, and it became a show months afterwards.

    • KB

      Definitely adding this to my Netflix queue. Thanks friend.

  • “Point is, I invested my heart and soul into The Breaks and its rude for VH1 to not do the same for me.”

    Same. Well, I invested my heart minus the first 20 minutes of the pilot–let’s be real and call it what it was–and then at 10:50, I was like, “But, wait, DeeVee and his music? Where is it?”

    My one real gripe about this is Nikki’s boyfriend. I feel like, to be more inclusive of, like, the b-boy era and all that, there should have been some (more?) Nuyoricans in the show…unless the Biggie-like character is Puerto Rican? Or was he just a light-skinned brotha? In any case, I feel like if they were going for a non-Black boyfriend for Nikki, a Puerto Rican dude coulda been it. Because as it stands, the white dude being the realest real that ever realed about late ’80s/super early ’90s hip-hop? OK.

    • panamajackson

      I dont know. That worked for me. His father was a music industry heavy. When was the last time a PR was that in the 70s and 80s? Also, and I don’t mean to be all “they can’t cover everything” when telling the story of 3 people, but they can’t cover everything. Plus, the white dude in that role makes a lot of sense in a David Mays type of way. Or Rick Rubin.

      • So, I get it from that aspect. It makes sense that the white guy is a music industry heavy because that’s just how it was and is. And, of course, his son is going to have an in because of it. It just felt strange watching a show about NYC in this particular time and not seeing any Boricuas on the show.

        It could be that I’ve been feeling some heavy New York Undercover nostalgia for the last year (like, for real Netflix or Hulu needs to get on that), but it felt like a missing piece in The Breaks.

      • Shay

        I mad it’s over. But I must say it was dope. Can’t wait til it comes back on

    • KB

      The big dude’s name is A-F-R-O and I heard he’s REALLY nice on the mic. I haven’t heard his music yet but I plan to check it out soon.

      • Caught a couple of AFROs tracks on Soundcloud over the summer. “Really nice” is putting it lightly. Kid is only 18-19, I think, but raps like (possibly better… he’s that nice) some of the hottest rappers of that era

    • Annabella Rios

      A-F-R-O is half spanish, so he’s the nuyorican in the mix.

  • Jocelyn

    I give VH-1 a B- for “The Breaks”. I was SO excited by the music that I danced in my living room. I liked that the battle raps were presented over old familiar beats. My 20 year crush on Method Man is still strong and I giggled at him playing a 40-something year old dad. I quickly remembered that is closer to reality (dang we’re getting old). I have been re-watching “The Wire” so every time Wood Harris appeared, I expected someone to call him Avon. Extra points for Barry’s friend being named Gordy. If VH-1 decides to continue the “movie” as a series, the producers should be careful to be authentic and make sure the show isn’t stretched beyond a natural life.

    • PhlyyPhree

      I said several times throughout the movie that I don’t care WHAT you name his character, Avon is still going to Avon


        And deevee is still mike. … lol

  • Cake211

    Straight Outta Brooklyn scarred me for a long time. It was familiar since I’m from Brooklyn, but the whole movie was just wild.
    As for The Breaks, I didn’t watch it live so my heartbreak is buffered since I know it’s coming, but shout out to them for having DeeVee be a Prep for Prep kid. Me and the other Prepheads feel like we made it. #pfp4lyfe

  • VH1 also created a Spotify playlist for The Breaks:

    • I mean they played Kool G Rap & DJ Polo so I had to watch the bulk of it.

      • I also enjoyed the cypher they had with “The Bridge Is Over” as the battle beat.

        Speaking of, that battle put to shame anything that Empire has ever tried to push as a rap battle. I still giggle at Jamal’s falsetto “B i t c h!” when he battled ol’ boy last season.

  • Pinks

    I was wondering why all the curses were cut out if it was supposed to be just a movie. I didn’t get to see the end of it, but what I did see was tolerable.

  • PhlyyPhree

    I watched it with twitter last night and I really enjoyed the conversations that came from it.
    I did NOT receive as much enjoyment from the “movie”. I even sat down and watched the second showing because I missed the first 20 minutes of the premiere.
    Still nothing.
    I think because it was billed as a movie and I kept looking for some sort of historical accuracy and it was all over the place. Plus, I must be too woke now, because the scenes where David was pleading to get hip hop in rotation at the station really made me suck my teeth and question why EVERY movie about black people must have a white savior.
    My friend and I were discussing and he pointed out that they could have called this movie “The Wire…with Rappers”. They had Cheese, Avon, Michael and Ahm was really just Marlo who raps with a better body. (He didn’t say the better body part, I added that. Lol)

    • Justin

      Completely peeped that in the film. Also the bedwench narrative was alive and well. Why not make MAck Wilds character have the love interest.

More Like This