“Hip-hop didn’t invent anything… Hip-hop re-invented everything.” Grandmaster Caz in Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap.
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Having already been shown at the Sundance Film Festival and in the US to critical success, the documentary film Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap by Tracy Marrow (better known as Ice-T) recently made it’s way to London for it’s European Premiere. Featuring a showing of Ice-T’s directorial debut which he describes as being “a love letter to hip-hop”, the film was followed by a Q&A and performances by hip-hop legends Melle Mel, Public Enemey’s Chuck D, Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon and Ghostface Killah and the original ‘Gangster Rapper’ and the film director himself, Ice-T. A hip-hop legend and renowned rapper in his own right for many years, Ice-T steps behind-the-camera for the first time for The Art of Rap to interview and film over fifty hip-hop artists, past and current, from Immortal Technique, Big Daddy Kane, Krs-One and Grandmaster Caz to modern rappers such as Eminem, Nas, Dr Dre and Kanye West. The film itself is an insight into the world of these rap icons, delving into their minds, lifestyles and memories to find out their influences, creative processes, writing and recording methods but also features insightful and candid personal anecdotes. Ice-T admits he “hit up everyone in his cell phone” to be a part of the movie and interviewed anyone he had personal dealings with over the years. With his status as a rap legend and in his own personal style he is able to engage with each of his interviewees and encourage them to open-up naturally. For Ice-T to gain access to the calibre of artists featured and record this kind of intimate footage makes for great viewing for fans of rap and hip-hop culture. Pioneer of old school hip-hop, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five member Melle Mel puts it appropriately when he states “only Ice-T could have put this movie together”.
The Art of Rap is out now at cinemas nationwide.
Text and photography: Ravi Sidhu