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SOMETHING FROM NOTHING: THE ART OF RAP

Director: ICE-T, ANDY BAYBUTT

106 minutes, U.K.-U.S.A., 2012, Colour, D-Cinema


The legendary Ice-T makes his directorial debut with this study of rap, the genre that made him a star, using a series of conversations with 47 of its greatest practitioners to explore its evolution. The film is less interested in the lifestyles or trappings of wealth that many have come to associate with rap, and focuses instead on the craft itself, casually providing a fascinating oral history along the way. The director, himself a pioneer and master, proves a hugely affable host as he sits down with figures such as Afrika Bambaataa, Ice Cube, Chuck D, Kool Keith, Eminem, and Q-Tip, covering the various styles of rap, and discussing their processes, inspirations, and influences. 

The highlights of the film come when the interviewees provide off-the-cuff raps of remarkable verbal dexterity to illustrate their points (and show off their skills). Even for the uninitiated, this is an enjoyable and often very funny portrayal of a true American art.

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