Something from Nothing: the Art of Rap

3 March 2018

As the film goes on, Ice-T and his film crew make their way through all the major ties 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-It’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 hinge 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 Kenya West, Ice-T asks West to describe one of his early experiences with rap battling. West describes a situation where he was involved in a rap battle with another guy from his school or neighborhood. West goes on to describe a situation where we recited his rap in the impromptu street “stage” and then it was his opponent’s turn.

West believe he had the more intelligent lyrics to deliver the best power move. However, his opponent, someone named Chris, goes on to say “Hey you, my name is Chris and you smell like pips! ” West then reminisces over the reaction of the crowd where Chris completely swaggered all the rhymes recited by West. Instead, Chris used a classic power move and brought the crowd to his side with a simple, but powerful, rhyme. West concludes his interview by jokingly pondering the consequences of those early rap battles on the simplicity of his own presenters rap lyrics.Rap battles have a special significance in hip-hop culture because of the spontaneous nature of the lyrical “fight”. KIRKS-One describes a situation where his start to rap came when he was just a bystander in an ongoing rap battle. When one of the rappers pointed to KIRKS-One out of the blue, he was forced o respond or forever have a stigma against him.

The experience of KIRKS-One further shows the implications of the “sink or swim” mentality of power moves and hip-hop culture over all. By choosing to lyrically fight back, KIRKS- One found his talent and fondness for reciting hard-hitting lyrics with an effect.Many times, the effect portion of a rap song was only made possible by the existence of a DC behind the MAC. DC Premier one of the few Des interviewed by Ice-T in this film. In his interview, DC Premier highlights the difference between having sneakers and actual Aids. He is speaking about the practical application of the “crossroads between lack and desire”. Premier goes on to say that having just sneakers wasn’t enough, the desire for brand-name Aids was prevalent in the early days of hip-hop.

In a widened scope, the desire for brand-names shows the desire of those who are many times ignored by society. Through the interviews with DC Premier and others, Ice-T shows the causes for the birth of rap and hip-hop as a culture. From these desires, a creative outlet was needed for the youth in lower economic tiers of society. The film is successful in explaining the origins of hip-hop as well as signifying the elements of rap that make it a driving force of the music industry.

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