In the midst of the rap revolution going on in New York City, a label known as Def Jam came into being and would soon become the hottest hip-hop record company in the business, spearheaded by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin. Looking at Krush Groove, you get the feeling that this is a semi-biographical film about the company... you just substitute "Krush Groove" for "Def Jam" and you're practically there.The film centers mostly on Russell (Blair Underwood) and his struggle to keep his indie record operation afloat with his partner Rick (Rick Rubin, looking like Curtis Armstrong). But things are falling apart at Krush Groove Records... he can't get the records out on time and his stable of artists, including Run-DMC and Kurtis Blow (as themselves), are being courted by bigger record labels. He needs five thousand dollars to keep the vinyl supply coming, and after exhausting all his available options, resorts to borrowing money from a shady loan shark (Richard Gant). Now Russell's gotta worry about paying him back while trying to keep his Krush Groove family together.
In the middle of all this, he meets an aspiring R&B singer Sheila (Sheila E) and falls in love with her in his attempt to get her music on his label. There's also a side story featuring the Fat Boys and their mission to win a talent contest and get signed. Hip-hop cameos abound here, from Full Force to New Edition to Beastie Boys to LL Cool J (basically this is his acting debut here).
In terms of scriptwriting and acting, Krush Groove is just above mediocre. Fortunately, the musical performances, in all their 1985 glory, more than make up for that. You get to see legends like Run-DMC and Sheila E in their prime, and you can reminisce about the crazy fashions that were all over, from shiny jumpsuits to Jericurl mullets.Add it all up and you've got a solid, entertaining snapshot of the hip-hop scene in the mid-eighties. Word up.