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SOMETHING FROM NOTHING: THE ART OF RAP is a feature length performance documentary about the runaway juggernaut that is Rap music. At the wheel of this unstoppable beast is the film's director and interviewer Ice-T. Taking us on a deeply personal journey Ice-T uncovers how this music of the street has grown to dominate the world. Along the way Ice-T meets a whole spectrum of Hip-Hop talent, from founders, to new faces, to the global superstars like Eminem, Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and Kanye West. He exposes the roots and history of Rap and then, through meeting many of its most famous protagonists, studies the living mechanism of the music to reveal 'The Art Of Rap'. This extraordinary film features unique performances from the entire cast, without resorting to archive material, to build a fresh and surprising take on the phenomenon that is Rap. Written by
Hip-Hop heavyweight Tracy Marrow, better known as Ice-T, travels from the East to the West coast to interview dozens of rap's finest to provide a 360° perspective on the art of rap, and establish why this subversive underground movement has quickly become the most lucrative musical genre in the world.
Many can rhyme words; few can do it with panache. To prove this, we're treated to several tantalising tongue-twisters from the likes of Eminem, Kanye West, Nas and Mos Def (now known as Yasiin), although some legendary MCs let themselves down by delivering feckless freestyles.
Rappers being rappers, they all claim credit for being the first to do this or that. No one really bothers to answer the question at the heart of this documentary. I wanted the history and truth about rap. Afrika Bambaataa and KRS-One two from the Old School deliver knowledgeable insights (slave-era camaraderie prefigured battle rapping, the turntable was turned into an instrument), but after a while the contributions become monotonous, irrelevant, uninteresting and surprisingly, given that these are purported wordsmiths, inarticulate. Ice-T becomes more interested in kicking back with his homies while they smoke unfeasibly big joints and rap along to classic hip-hop tracks.
Ice-T promises follow-ups to his directorial debut, for which I have a piece of advice: When cats like these end their sentences with 'Nah mean', i.e. 'Do you know what I mean?', for our sake, please find out what they mean.
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