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“This film is about the craft,” declares Ice-T, the veteran rapper (once notorious for his track “Cop Killer”) who’s turned director with “Something From Nothing : The Art of Rap,” a documentary on the roots and development of busting rhymes. Ice-T is a good person to lead this investigation: He’s a rapper from the days when hip-hop was vital and exploding with new ideas, before the descent into gansgta banality; he also has the contacts and the street cred to rope in a bunch of other rappers to talk about their art, and given the, umm, often combative nature of hip-hop rivalries, that’s no small feat.

People who should be here are, in candid interviews and frequently freestylin’: Public Enemy, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Ice Cube, Afrika Bambaata, Nas, even Snoop Dogg. It’s almost more interesting to note who’s not in the movie: sucka MCs like Ice-T nemeses LL Cool J and Soulja Boy, or more noticeably 50 Cent and Jay-Z, which one suspects is deliberate.

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