One of the dopest films out or soon to be out at a theater near you is the Something from Nothing the Art of Rap, put together by Ice-T... Yes, there have been a number of documentaries put out over the years that have focused on emceeing, but this one really hits home for a few reasons..
First, the stories are being told by those who do it..This is important, because far too often the nuanced and subtle perspectives by the practitioners are often left out or overshadowed by everyone else when documentaries are made. We get to really see how folks are thinking and feel where they’re coming from. There’s no middle-man, expert, punditry interpretation.. You walk away really understanding how and why Hip Hop and in particular rap is an American art form given to the world..
The second thing, is we got to hear from many of the pioneers and see them execute their craft without the feeling like they were being rushed off or their interviews cut short to make room for artists or big names who are well-known today in 2012.
It was good to hear good solid interviews with pioneering and iconic figures who still have it like Grandmaster Caz, Mele-Mel, MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Nas, Chuck D, Q-Tip and Doug E Fresh to name a few. They were nicely balanced out with folks like Kanye West who got busy in this film, along with artists like Immortal Technique, Eminem, Bun B and Common to name a few..
On a side note the Grandmaster Caz spit the illest rhyme out of everyone in the entire film..I had to get that in , because a couple of my buddies thought Kanye took the cake. A couple thought Eminem came hard while others felt WC made his presence felt.. That’s the good thing about this film.. we’re all gonna come out debating who repped.. So I’m just gonna keep it real with ya since its my blog.. Grandmaster Caz killed it.. case closed!..
It was good seeing Ice T do the interviews because he pulls things out of his peers that many film makers probably couldn’t.. It was good to see him in the role of journalist, fan and participant as he ripped a few flows to remind cats, he still has flavor. It was good to see the camaraderie and mutual respect and admiration which often led humorous exchanges..
The only shortcomings to this movie is it should’ve been longer.. I think 4 or 5 hours would’ve been great.. LOL Seriously Ice will have to make additional parts to this, because as dope as this flick is, there are many angles that weren’t fully covered.. There’s no way to fit everyone and everything into a film like that..especially since Ice allows folks to talk and show off their skillz.. He wasn’t cutting and editing just to fit everyone in..
Other critiques?? Pick a city, any city around the country, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Oakland, Cleveland, Boston.. Pick a city and I guarantee at every showing, there will be someone pointing out that the Art of Rap didn’t include their favorite rapper or the person they perceive to be the sharpest spitter from their part of town..There’s gonna be cats saying there wasn’t enough midwest, not enough South, no Bay Area etc etc.. That’s gonna happen and even with that critique the film is still dope..It might drop down to a 9.5 as opposed to a 10..
There will be folks from different generations who feel like more could’ve been added. Yes there will be a few who say the film should’ve included more pioneers, more cats from the 80s, more cats from the 90s and millennium cats. Some will want more underground, others will want it to be more mainstream.. That’s gonna happen… and even with that, as I noted earlier still this is a Must See film
Personally I think Ice could’ve added a few more sistas in the mix.. It was good to see Salt, It was great to see Lyte.. I wanted to see Yo Yo, Medusa, Invincible and Jean Grae.. and while they weren’t in the film, it’s still dope.
The good news is Ice filmed hours upon hours of material and I’m almost certain we’ll see additional parts where our personal favorites are included.. As I said this is not a forced documentary. It flowed really well and had a very authentic feel and is an important, essential addition in the Story of Hip Hop..
Major Props to Ice T.. I fully expect this documentary to be nominated for an Oscar.. It’s that damn good.
Below is the official video for the Art of Rap.. Smooth tha Hustla brings heat..