Observations: It's a rap for Ice-T's super-cool history of hip-hop


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The Independent Culture

Ice-T's celluloid rap sheet includes such esoteric capers as Urban Menace – a notorious horror flick that starred Snoop Dogg as a psychopathic priest. But his latest cinematic venture is more cerebral: directing a documentary about the history of hip-hop.

“I didn't really believe that people respected rap to the degree it should be, as an art form,” says the rapper and actor. “The film was a spur of the moment idea – but it took three years to complete.”

Working alongside director Andy Baybutt, Ice-T interviewed the genre's heavy- weights – Mos Def, Afrika Bambaataa, Dr Dre, Kanye West, Eminem, and of course, Snoop Dogg, before cutting what could become the definitive rap doc. “Snoop is crazy, always funny – but we're friends so it was easy,” he says, adding: “They all just opened up and gave me a lot of stories that I don't think other people could've got.”

Next week sees the European premiere of Something from Nothing: the Art of Rap at London's Hammersmith Apollo. Ice-T will also perform with Chuck D and Raekwon after the movie is shown.

“The coolest thing about this film is the access to these artists in a personal form,” he says, sounding understandably proud of charting the rise of the movement .

'Something from Nothing: the Art of Rap' is out on 19 July (theartofrap.com)