5 Miles from the Spotlight - Eric D'Alessandro
(Genre: Mockumentary/Documentary & Hip Hop/Rap)
Eric D'Alessandro came to my attention back in 2012 when his viral video "What Happened to Rap?" came out and I immediately had to investigate his YouTube channel. I learned soon that he's been doing music and comedy for quite a while and fell in love with his series, "The Eric Show", that showcased everything he's about. Then after 2013, he rarely uploaded until he eventually stopped altogether and I would wonder what he's been up to here and there. I missed his humor and talent as an emcee and decent singing. Suddenly, I caught a tweet in my timeline with a trailer from Eric's account and I got filled to the brim with excitement to see what was in store.
The trailer teased the soon coming movie and album that were to answer what the followers of Eric wondered about for so long. To start off the experience, we go into the movie available on his YouTube channel. It's a mockumentary of sorts that reenacts Eric's life away from his online stardom. Though some parts are embellished a bit for laughs, it still chronicles Eric's tough time coming to terms with him needing to chase success with his creativity. He also uses the film to express his feelings about his love/hate relationship with his hometown, Staten Island. He explores the stereotypes and mentality of the city and how it affects him as person who wants to be a breakout star without cutting ties by moving away.
He clearly portrays his ambitions, never aligning with the typical 9 to 5 lifestyle expected from the environment he was raised in. Still he explains how he never wanted to be pigeon-holed as strictly a YouTuber either as he's been a creator before the platform existed and mainly one means to showcase his creations. This puts stress upon many of his relationships from family, friends, & his girlfriend and is seen throughout the film as well. Eventually, though he comes to realize that he must leave the city he loves to actually reach his dreams as he plans to represent his hometown along the way.
During his upswing in the film, he begins to make music again and what's attached to the movie is this album. Among the tracklist are songs about Staten Island, his goals as an entertainer, and showcasing those skills through wordplay, vocals, & introspection. The production ranges from current hip hop to early 2000's rap with his rhyme style similar to Jay-Z, Logic, and Eminem. He can go hard and hype with anthems like "Everything Alright" & "This is Staten Island", then a straight punchline heavy emcee with "Keep Going (Go Part 2)" & "I Just Don't Give a F*ck (Remix)". His word painting comes naturally with "The Guys from Here" & "The Girls from Here". This album clearly demonstrates his music versatility.
Overall, I must say this pairing of media was very well done. I can certainly see the music having the most accessibility, but the movie most likely can be enjoyed by people who are new to Eric also. I loved getting a glimpse into his life through both formats, yet I must say that if there's one thing I would recommend checking out first as a newcomer would be the track "Insight". It is almost like a soliloquy that embodies everything that Eric is about over some brilliant instrumentation than rather cinematic. If you're into a charismatic, goofball with loads of talent, then I must suggest you get Mr. D'Alessandro less than 5 miles from the spotlight by giving it a listen!
"Make it Through" these related links:
5 Miles from the Spotlight (The movie)
What Happened To Rap? (My introduction)
The Eric Show Ep. 12 (I Hate Radio DJ's)
The Eric Show Ep. 22 (Family Takeover)
F*cking Problem Remix (First non Parody I heard)