Trailer from Ice T's Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap
New documentary marks new wave of hip hop films
Hip hop, like most trends to grace the cinema, comes in waves. The last big one was in the early 1990s, with the likes of Boyz N The Hood, New Jack City and Menace II Society following the era-defining late 1980s music releases of NWA's Straight Outta Compton and Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back among others. Since then, there have been fits and starts, notably including Eminem's 8 Mile, 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' and to a lesser extent, Antoine Fuqua's Training Day (starring Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre and Macy Gray in decidedly non-musical roles).
A new wave of films with a documentary focus look set to start in 2012: Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest screened at the Glasgow Film Festival in February; an NWA biopic is scheduled for release later this year, directed by Boyz helmer John Singleton; and Dirty White Boy, due out next year, features Michael Kenneth White (Omar in The Wire) as Wu-Tang Clan's Ol' Dirty Bastard. Putting all that in context is the directorial debut from rapper Ice T - Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap.
Ice T's status as an industry insider means he has greater access to the leading figures who made hip hop what it is today, including Snoop, Dre, Ice Cube, Chuck D, Mos Def, Eminem, Kanye West and Afrika Bambaataa. The film premiered at Sundance in January, and is due to get a wider Stateside release on Friday 15 June. We'll let you know when a UK release date is confirmed - in the meantime, here's the trailer.