Something from Nothing: the Art of Rap

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To understand the culture of hip-hip, understanding the origins of the art

is pertinent to the goal. The Ice-T directed film, “Something From Nothing”, explores the perspectives and personalities of both present-day and early hip-hop pioneers. Ice-T gained, much deserved, respect when the film was accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. In the documentary, release in the summer of 2012, Ice-T shows the birth of hip-hip by literally starting at the place that is credited with the dawn of hip-hop music, New York City. As the film goes on, Ice-T and his film crew make their way through all the major sites in hip-hip culture, such as Detroit, Los Angles, Compton, and Long Beach, California. The entire film is made up of interviews that are filmed on a location that is relevant to the artist, whether it be in their home, studio or a place that is integral to hip-hop. One notable question that Ice-T asks every artist is, “What advice would you give to an aspiring rapper or hip-hop artist?” The answers to this question vary greatly, observing the responses shows the theme of Ice-T’s message. Hip-hop as a culture is very diverse and rap as a musical art form is also very diverse in the sense that it means different things to different people. Throughout the film, viewers start to see some underlying theme with

many of the artists. From the beginning, in the boroughs of New York City, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, hip-hop always had an element of “dope”. An element of dope can be thought of as another way to describe something that is a “Power Move”. In many of the interviews, Ice-T juxtaposes the artist’s raps with the reactions of him and the film crew. This sets up a situation where the audience is able to see a Power Move, the artist recites their rap, and the people

around them react to the “dope” lyrics. For example, in the interview with Kanye West, Ice-T asks West to describe one of his early experiences with rap battling. West describes a situation where...
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