I’m a big music fan, and in particular heavy metal and hard rock, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like all kinds of stuff. In fact, I get mocked for my taste in music when people are in my car, as the music can just as easily swap between Metallica, 2Pac, The Beatles, and Johnny Cash, all in the space of 4 songs.
I personally see nothing wrong with that, as music is to be enjoyed, and I don’t understand only liking one kind of music and not opening yourself up to other types of sounds. At the end of the day, good music is good music, be it rap, metal, rock, country, or electronica.
So when Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap popped up on my review radar, I was quick to mark it down as one to see, as I’ve seen some great documentaries on metal music over the years, and I’ve always looked for a good one on rap. Even though it was presented and directed by Ice-T, whom I’m not overly familiar with music wise, or his acting career for that matter, but I knew enough about him to know his opinions and angle with the film would hold weight in the world of rap.
Right off the bat I liked the visual style, and the way the story was being told, but it soon became apparent that this wasn’t going to be so much a documentary about rap as an art form and its origins, as much as it was going to be about Ice-T himself, as he sat down and talked to all these other artists.
Though my initial thoughts were that it wasn’t very balanced, it wasn’t till I saw the special features and found out that was the whole point, as every person interviewed in the film was someone Ice-T knew personally. So when looking to set up the interviews, it was a simple matter of him going through his phone list and calling people up, meaning not a single person interviewed didn’t have a pre-existing relationship with him.
So this whole film was exactly what it set out to be, Ice-T sitting down and talking to his friends in the world or rap, as they talked about the art of it, what influenced them, and how they creatively go about making the music. It’s often funny how the special features can make you change your mind about a film, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse.
My number one suggestion to people when they watch this film is not to expect it to be the be-all-end-all of documentaries about rap and its history, but instead see it as a great insight into one part of the world of rap and rappers. Ice-T did a good job with the presenting, and as a first time director, I have to say he did a good job as well.
So though this wasn’t as good as I hoped it to be, I will still happily leave this in my DVD collection, and will crack it out from time to time in the future when I’m looking for an entertaining watch about the world of rap.