Bow and Arrow Entertainment, Olive Hill Media
While I’ve always been passionate about hip-hop over the past few years, I can’t claim to be as passionate as I once was. Therefore, the rise of A$AP Rocky, while familiar with the name, I just haven’t cared for much.
Despite not being overly familiar with his discography, the Stockholm controversy was hard to ignore as it dominated the airwaves two years back. Two years later, Rocky tells his story with the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Stockholm Syndrome, a documentary that effectively looks at the events of 2019 and the rapper’s career that will offer an appreciation for not just the man but the sociopolitical issues that continue to run rampant today.
Stockholm Syndrome is a mixed bag of topics as while it doesn’t fully dive into the events of that day in Stockholm and Rocky’s milieu, the film does dive into the context of the events, Rocky’s time in prison, and the trial that follows. While there is no filmed recording of the trial itself, we are still taken inside the courtroom as directors, The Architects, provide a photographic reenactment that serves as a great substitution. Along with that, a claymation scene of Rocky in his Kronoberg Remand Prison cell adds to the solitude of Rocky’s stint in prison.
As mentioned before, Stockholm Syndrome is about more than just the events that transpired two years ago, but a semi-bio doc that looks at Rocky’s life and what’s shaped him into the man and performer he is today. While questionable at first glance, this choice was a perfect choice as it opens the door for us to know the man, not just the event. The film dives into Rocky’s upbringing and his close-knit relationship with his mother and sister, which included a love for horror films and fashion thanks to his late father, which in turn effectively correlates to Rocky’s fashion today.
His father always kept Rocky in the newest Jordans and outfits and led to a passion for fashion that ties into his overall look and ties in beautifully with his music. His style is corroborated by fashion designer Michèle Lamy, model Naomi Campbell, and fashion manager Matthew Henson.
Despite the dive into Rocky’s life, the film’s crux is the incident and the awareness it ultimately launched about the racism that exists in the U.S and around the world. It was important for the film to detail why Rocky and company felt these events occurred and how it changed his life, and Rocky states,
“People will have this perception of rappers being belligerent, ignorant, or trouble-makers. In reality, I just minded my business. Doing what a normal person would do when they go to a foreign country.”
Because of these events, the film effectively highlights the importance of Rocky to do what’s needed to raise awareness and money to donate to prison inmates of reformation.
Ultimately, Stockholm Syndrome does its job in educating cinephiles about the events that transpired along with their consequences. Blending biographical aspects and an appreciation for the Stockholm events, Rocky, his career, and hip-hop as a whole.