Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap

One of the many benefits to staying in a condo filled with fellow critics is getting up each morning (and making sure one another get up) and fighting over who gets to be “friends” with who as people match up their screening schedules for the day. Our motley crew headed out early yesterday morning armed with mini pumpkin muffins (thanks, Kate!) and hopes that we got enough sleep the night before to make it through the day. Thanks to the snow Park City was hit with Saturday, the shuttle system has been less than speedy, making jumping from venue to venue a bit of a headache. There are a few venues that are walking distance from one another, but as I learned today (with fellow colleague Rudie Obias) walking may have been the faster option, but it certainly wasn’t the drier one. (Snow is wet! I’m from California!) Either way, I made it to all my screenings and yes, my socks were soaked for most of the day, but luckily our condo has a washer and dryer in house (like I said – it’s the bloggerati condo of dreams) so it was worth it. Well…kind of.

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Rapper Ice-T looks into the origins of the rap game in his first film about the genre that made him a star. At the root of hip-hop are the impressive lyrics, crafted by master wordsmiths, that make up these songs and Ice-T gets to the bottom of what it takes to create these intricate rhymes. The title of the film suggests that rap came from nothing, but the truth is rap began when those without access to instruments turned to what they did have, the record player, and turned that into an instrument. Rap was a reinvention of this music, throwing rhymes and lyrics over the instrumentation rather than completely starting from nothing. As Grandmaster Caz states in the film, “Hip-hop didn’t invent anything, hip-hop reinvented everything” giving new life to these songs and bringing them to a new generation.

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As I touched on in my roundup of the must-see films set to screen during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, there are many titles to choose from, but in looking over the ten films I am most looking forward to seeing I realized my interest is centered around character driven narratives (both funny and dramatic) and documentaries with their roots in music (no surprise there.) Of course with a full week at the festival, I am aiming to take in as many movies as I can, but these were the ten that stayed at the top of my list as I revised (and revised) my schedule. From actors I have had my eye on to compelling stories that grabbed my attention, keep your browsers bookmarked to FSR as I review each of these films and discover whether I was right (or wrong) with my choices here.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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