Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap Review

Posted on 9 August 2012
By Emma Cowles
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Combine hip-hop vibes with flamboyant birds-eye shots spanning the length and breadth of the United States, delving into the ghetto’s around South Central LA and further afield, and what do you have? Ice T’s first cinematic production.

‘The Art of Rap’ has sought to squash negative tongues wagging in the media once for all, and raise the flag high for West and East Coast rappers alike, acclaiming them in a positive light and showing how the music has enriched popular culture.

The film is shot with an honesty that is symptomatic of Ice T’s music output and comes straight from the street, as the documentary takes you on a hard-hitting ride through the East and West coast music scenes. It introduces all of the best lyricists in their turn who talk about their unique creative process, from Dre, Kanye West to Eminem.

The film interjects humour with displays of sharp wit and intelligence from all of the artists featured, and seeks to illuminate the music as a higher-form of art than it often gets credit for, and one that is full of integrity and truth. This is a modern day rags to riches story after all.

Ice T’s lengthy chats with the stars gives the audience a first-hand account of the ‘highs and lows’ of this unique and somewhat victimised form of creative expression.

‘The Art of Rap’ illustrates the ‘other side’ of the artistic genre, addressing negative stereotypes, whilst showing the ‘flip side’, the things people don’t see.

The true talent beneath the macho bravado surrounding the art form can be seen through these dialogues, and demonstrates how the music is much more than a money making scheme full of cars, jewells and video girls.

It acts as a release for these often tortured visionaries. Eminem’s interview is particularly moving and resonates with anyone regardless of their rap allegiances. His story transcends hip-hop.

Ice T has given a candid insight into the world he has known for over 20 years, giving an inspiring, shocking and eye opening perspective on the rap game from the bottom up.

This stunning piece of cinematography is one that reaches out to the old and the young alike, as well to aspiring rap stars and musicians who want to see how difficult life can be in the limelight.

But this film is not just for the hip hop fanatics walking among us. And perhaps for the first time, those members of the public who denigrate the genre can see a different side to the madness and debauchery they imagine.

Finally they can see the dedication, the intelligence and the utter hard work that it takes to succeed in this industry.