film review: Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

“I FELT I really had to do this film because rap music saved my life,” explains Ice-T, narrator and co-director of this glossy documentary which celebrates the men and women who propelled the lyrical art form into the musical mainstream.


Almost 50 interview subjects are shoe-horned into 111 minutes. The film is clearly a labour of love for Ice-T, who criss-crosses America to interview friends within the industry. Not everything goes smoothly, such as some filming on the streets of New York, which is interrupted by a passer-by. “Homey, you see the camera? Keep it movin’!” begs Ice-T. Popular figures such as 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Queen Latifah don’t warrant a mention but Ice-T and co-director Andy Baybutt embrace other icons including Chuck D from Public Enemy and Eminem, who seems genuine when he claims rap “is the one thing I think I have that I can do well”.

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