MIFF: Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap

Godfather of gangsta rap turned director, Ice-T, takes audiences on a personal journey into the heart and soul of hip-hop.

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Music documentaries are in a category all of their own, when it comes to making an audience feel. Something From Nothing is no different – especially for a girl who doesn’t know a lot about rap. The best thing about Something For Nothing is learning where rap came from – as director and presenter Ice-T says, rap is colourless, but it’s a largely African American invention. When communities could no longer afford the musical instruments they had played before, they played what they had. They had turntables. They had records. And they made something that would take over the world.

Ice-T interviews the biggest names in the business – from Melle Mel (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five) to Eminem – bleeding the real story of rap out of them in anecdotes, influences, performances and in some cases, freestyle rap. This documentary is as comprehensive as it is mesmerising. It’s also incredibly funny – apparently you have to have a great sense of humour to be an MC. It becomes clear that rap is, like all art, self-feeding and inter-referential; the new generation of rappers are influenced by those who came before them. Something From Nothing will, for those who haven’t found a way into rap yet, show that like any other creative endeavour, it is simply a powerful avenue for people to express themselves. The film uncovers, in a way that is a lot less intimidating than has been presented before, that rapping is writing (there are a lot of legal pads and looping writing, and not many Mac Books), and that the people that create rap have reintroduced poetry to the generations.

From those who live for hip-hop to those who know nothing, this is an attention-grabbing look into the industry that will have you stopping off at the music store on the way home.

 

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