Top 10 Interesting Things From Ice-T's The Art of Rap
Friday night, Ice-T's new hip-hop documentary The Art of Rap opened in theaters nationwide. I went and watched it at the AMC Studio 30 at Westheimer and Dunvale. Here are ten things from the movie that are interesting and one thing that will be picked over:
10. Grandmaster Caz Is Ruthlessly, Seamlessly Brilliant: A considerable amount of the documentary is emcees rapping directly into the camera. Nearly all of the interviewed parties participate. Snoop, Eminem, Kanye, Melle Mel, KRS-One, more, more, more.
It's mostly a fun thing, with only a few feeling unnecessary. Chino XL must've just been walking by while they were filming or some shit, because why else would he be included? Grandmaster Caz's offering, a blindingly cool collection of "I'm that [SOMETHING] nigga, that [SOMETHING ELSE] nigga" punchlines, was the best.
It was perfectly done: Smart, funny, pulverizing, etc., and rates, without hyperbole, as profound. It unintentionally pulls the legs off of any other rappers trying to sprint past him. When he finished, people in the theater clapped.
9. Brand Nubian's Lord Jamar Is Called Lord Jamar For a Reason: The first interview Ice-T conducts is with Brand Nubian's Lord Jamar. During their discussion, Jamar crafts what very well may be the most logical, most well conceived, most HOLY FUCK HOW HAS NOBODY EVER MADE THIS POINT BEFORE? observation for how rap birthed itself of all-time.
In Chuck Klosterman's Eating The Dinosaur, Klosterman describes rock critic Rob Sheffield's assertion that Garth Brooks became so unfathomably popular because America missed Bruce Springsteen as something "so simultaneously obvious and unseen that only someone as supernaturally brilliant as Rob Sheffield could possibly make it."
As soon as Jamar stopped talking, that was the first thing I thought about. Lord Jamar is called Lord Jamar for a reason.
8. Ice-T Loves Aerial Shots: He does. There are 1,000 of them in the film.
7. Ice-T Has A Bunch Of Bad Shirts: He does. He wears 1,000 of them in the film.
6. Ice-T Is Considerably Funnier Than You're Expecting: There are several parts during the movie when Ice, comfortable as he can be, jokes and jests without hiccuping. It's really a fun thing to see.
Highlights include when he describes some of the tricks he'd use during shows when he'd forget lyrics, which gives him an excuse to use the phrase "human teleprompter," and when some people wander into the shot while he's interviewing Q-Tip (he basically tells them, "Hey, move the fuck on"). He works as a proper vehicle for the documentary's narrative.
5. Chino XL, Immortal Technique, Xzibit and Royce Da 5'9" Must Be Friends With Ice-T: Those guys all make appearances in the film, though it's never clear why. They don't offer much, and mostly serve to just clog things up.
4. People Really Like Bun B: When he showed up in the movie, people in the theater started clapping.
3. KRS-One Has the Best Story For How He Started Rapping Somehow, in the 400,000 things that KRS-One has said to media since people started caring about what he had to say, the story about how he began rapping was neglected. To summarize: While standing around watching two other guys battle-rap, he became an incidental victim (one of the guys made fun of his clothes).
He chose to defend himself, rapping his rebuttal. Things grew from there. (He tells the story about a million times better.)