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on August 13, 2012
This is one of the best hip-hop documentaries I've seen, both in the range of artists it interviews and the information it gives to you.

It's kind of like a companion to the book which came out a few years ago, where they got hold of around 100 MCs (many of the same people in this documentary + more), this is the one I mean -
How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC

...so this documentary is like additional knowledge to go along with that book, and obviously you get to see some nice freestyles and everything on the screen with this.

It's great that people are finally documenting the actual CRAFT of MCing, rather than either trying to attack it in some way without knowing anything about it, or just talking "around" the art form, by focusing on stuff like the socio-political background... that stuff is important, but not at the expense of a thorough discussion and preservation of the actual creation of the music, which is what this documentary focuses on.

Definitely worth watching and an awesome addition to the growing body of work on the creation of hip-hop music.
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on March 26, 2013
I'm a white dude from the 'burbs, few of my peers listened to it, but I love it. This is my high school years' anthem.

I enjoyed it. The cinematography was excellent, the long list of rap stars was impressive, and the fact that they did this are all huge pluses.

However, Ice-T was not the right guy for the job, he's just not much of an interviewer, I wish Fab 5 Freddy was still alive he would have made this a 10/10. It also seems like he just can't remember much of anything from which ever rapper he was interviewing. He honestly at times of the movie seems like a casual fan, which of course he's not, he's made, and had some great hits, but damn' he barely named any of the rappers he was interviweings hits, he'd say remember the one beat da da da, yea yea, I'm like really ? I guess he just forgot, he's pretty far removed.

Doug E Fresh looks exactly the same, and beat boxing like he's still in his prime, and 'Ye killed his spot, caught fire, that dude is crazy but brilliant.

They went from New York to Cali in the movie they should have went the other way around, the new york stuff was gold. As well they gave Eminem like the biggest spot, I'm like dude Em is talented, but I haven't bought one of his CD's, these other dudes are legends and you barely spoke to them for 2 minutes each.

All that being said any old school rap fan needs to see this, it's only .99 on demand atm. The stuff today just isn't on this level, this 80's early 90's rap was just gold.
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on December 5, 2012
Coming up literally around the corner from Kid and Play, Eric B and various hip hop artists in Queens, NY, I was really amazed by the information about creation and artistry that is Hip Hop from the mouths of those who make it. Ice is THE perfect host for this documentary and the variety of his panel of performers, nay, ARTISTS was excellent.

I worked in the biz for more than a minute and can tell you - there ain't nothing like Hip Hop music. Rap is one aspect... but I consider Rap as a noun to be record company directed music coming from a performer. This film reinforces what I know - and was glad to share the experience with my 14 year-old, who knew most of the words to many of these classics. She was WAYYY surprised to hear first hand the roots of the soundtrack to her father's childhood (and some of her lullabies). Though raw at times (for the kiddies), it is real. Made me dust off my crates and start listening to the classics again - on vinyl!
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on August 17, 2015
Interesting to see these emcees and djs I grew up on, looking mostly the same, but having gray hairs sneaking out the beards and doo-rags. Lol. How time flies...
Decent documentary. But the interview-then-acapella-freestyle format gets old sooner than you want, cuz (1) too many Q&As ain't illuminating and (2) most freestyles ain't interesting lyrically, rhythmically, structurally and content-wise.
Also, there's a lotta genius absent. E.g., Slick Rick, Bahamadia, L-Boogie, TCQ, Busta, Meth, Brand Nubian (Puba & Sadat), Outkast, Pharcyde, Jay, Talib, Latifah.
RIPs at the end is a nice touch though.
Bottom Line On Top: This is worth checking out. But there's at least one more hopefully definitive documentary on emceeing to be made.
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on May 9, 2016
If you grew up with beat street , buying the chronic album at Tower Records, or just a true hip-hop fan...this documentary by the legendary Ice-T is a must see. He is part of the hip hop evolution and knows what it was like getting rap off the ground to where its at today. Some great interviews and insights from the artists. I enjoyed it but this is just my opinion...check it out for yourselves
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on December 31, 2012
the strongest hip hop documentry
we can love hip hops growth we can dream to develop and create
and the best part is we can see and hear our artist out side of the music videos we can hear our music and the go listen.
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on August 13, 2013
Hip-hop veteran Ice-T travels across the country, from New York to LA, and interviews a variety of hip-hop artist. The result is this engaging documentary "Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap" directed by Ice-T and co-directed by Andy Baybutt.

Those who are interested in the social and historical aspect of the music, like where hip-hop/rap music came from, will be disappointed. As the film's title says (and Ice-T himself states at the beginning of the film), the documentary is mainly about the skills of the artists.

There is no "archival footage" here. The interviewees engage in conversation with Ice-T, and give us their thoughts about hip-hop, sometimes offering you glimpses of their creative process. Not everyone is interesting, I must say, but what these artists say is often revealing and insightful, accompanied with nice a cappella hip-hop performances. Some episodes they give are hilarious, making up for the occasional dull moments. What do you do if you forget lyrics during shows? Ice-T shows you a few tricks.

"Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap" is more like a tribute to hip-hop music than a documentary, and as such it delivers.
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on May 4, 2016
I am a teacher and I bought the movie to show to my music appreciation class. While I liked the premise for the movie and the interviews were interesting, the language was a real problem for me. Every other word was a swear word or the “N” word and I couldn’t help feeling offended by that. Most of the conversations were okay and the list of MC’s that chose to be involved was impressive. For hard core rap fans I, it was entertaining but for those of us on the outside looking in, I am no more a fan now than when I started. My students who viewed the video seemed to enjoy it.
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on May 17, 2013
This is a great documentary on the Art of Rap that brings the artist, the music and the creation to fruition where if you have a love for history, music and the people behind it all, this is a must see video. Wow, it took me back to some music I had almost forgot about but that same music took me back to places I was at in my life which was an enjoyable experience!

Ice-T doing the work on this as the voice behind the scenes and the face of introducing the artist and their contribution. Funny, they all seem to have a some sort of connection with one another, either by collaboration some where down the line or an influence in each others contribution of taking it to yet another level.

Must see....
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on October 15, 2012
Was one of those early rap listeners who thought it would just be a fad and not ever catch on...early rap artists were more about catchy rhyming and not about any substance...until The Message hit the airwaves and now it became a social highway for other artists to talk about what was happening in the core of the city. It is easily understood why rap has maintained the longevity that it has; I suspect that rap will continue to be at the center of all music that is artfully important. The message can be so powerful and positive, I would love to see our talented musicians (rappers) come together and send out lyrics of growth and positive harmonization. Uplift our youth and create a true pathway for empowerment. Music can and does a lot to answer real questions and guide folks in the right direction....
As a 55 year old advid listener of many types of music...everything from Old School Funk, Neo-Soul, BTO, Chicago, Miles and Coltrane, I am easily drawn to Rap-if the message is on point!!
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