The Good

The Bad

Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam: Season 2 was something I wasn’t looking forward to watching. It’s not because it always seems like everybody on this show is so angry(and I just find that off-putting), but I am just not that big on poetry. Yes, my favorite writer is Charles Bukowski but I prefer his books and his short stories as opposed to his poetry. I just have never really been a fan of this medium.

So with some trepidation I put on Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam: Season 2, and I got caught up in it. Something about what these people were saying spoke to me. Basically, this is just poets who come out and say what’s on their mind. All of it seems rehearsed and I liked a some poets better then others, but for the most part I really enjoyed this DVD. I was entranced by it. I guess not wanting to watch it made me more open to wanting to watch it ... if that makes any sense? I mean some of the stuff I just wasn’t into and other parts I was. There is nice mix of comedy, seriousness, politics and the personal that I no longer will just look at this show as a bunch of angry people “dishing” on the topical issues of the day.

Features

No extras came on these disks.

Video

Aspect Ratio 4:3. Full Screen. This show looks exactly how it looked when it aired on HBO(at least the parts of the airings I saw). Actually, I am sure if you are a purist you will probably think that when it aired on HBO it looked better, simply because when you’re watching it on DVD it is in a compressed format. Well, I didn’t notice any compression. The 7 episodes that make up this disk all look really good. There was no pixilation and furthermore, I found the entire look of these episodes(even though they were shot in a “moody” setting) to be very crisp and sharp. There was a different type of colorfulness to these episodes that I just can’t put my finger on. Maybe because these shows were shot on a better quality of video?

Audio

Audio: English 2.0 although this doesn’t say whether it is Dolby or not. Should I just know this? I am not sure how much this matters because the sound is fine. In fact, I was able to set the level of volume on my set pretty low and I heard everything just fine. On a DVD where the medium of poetry really is everything, the sound has got to be great. You have to be able to hear every word otherwise a lot is going to be lost. There were no audio problems of any sort as I was viewing this DVD. At no time did I have to go back and replay any part of this to figure out what the people were saying. Good work.

Package

Simple stuff here, Russell Simmons and Mos Def adorn this cover. There is a nice mix of a light green background mixed with white and orange titling. The back features more of this same look except on the back there is only a picture of Mr. Def. As this is only a 1 DVD set, clocking in at 175 minutes I tend to think that the price for interested parties will be pretty reasonable. It should be in my opinion because this DVD is well done, no huge bells and whistles, yet I am sure there is enough of an audience that it will have a large appeal. I also think that this DVD will help others like myself, who maybe stayed away from Def Poetry Jam, realize the error of their ways.

Final Word

Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam: Season 2 was a very enjoyable and eye opening experience for myself. I really had never given this show the time of day. I just am not that big a fan of poetry, yet I think that the urgency, humor and overall good naturedness of the performances is what ultimately won me over. I didn’t like everything that these people have to say, but that is more an issue of personal politics then it is anything else. I don’t feel bad about this because I think that that is the point of something like Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam: Season 2, there is something for everyone while all of it doesn’t have to appeal to you.

Truthfully, there was a lot more about Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam: Season 2 that appealed to me then not.

Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry was released .