‘Paused in Time’ with Baltimore’s Other Hip Hop

Baltimore has two hip hop scenes: there’s the Baltimore Club rap scene that’s gone to the furthest reaches of hipsterdom and now latches on to everything in it. Blaqstarr, Rye Rye, M.I.A., But Brick City has a second hip hop scene that Williamsburg has yet to adopt. Naturally, it’s more interesting, gritty, and authentic one — one that bred Tupac Shakur (and imported him out to L.A.), one that somehow can’t get it together despite tremendous talent. That scene had little to speak for it, until now. The documentary Paused in Time is — like the scene it covers — gritty, low budget, and isn’t trying hard enough to attract the interest of people who wouldn’t know better. That said, it’s worth a watch for a peak inside of a world made by fans, for fans.

You won’t see any names you recognize, nor will you see anything that even looks remotely mainstream-ready. What you will see is a tried-and-true scene that, despite having to pull away from the drain on larger ambitions, still sticks to its mission of making music and having a decent time. It’s not the kind of insider’s look you’re going to get anywhere else, and it’s one of the less explored corners of hip hop that, if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll recognize as — if anything — honest.

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