Hey Jesse, did you watch Ice T's kind of useless documentary about lyricism where he gets all these amazing interview subjects and then spends the practically the whole time talking about himself? (The bit where Eminem talks about Treach is cool tho)
I sure did! I actually found it really charming, even though I think that Ice T is almost a surrealistically unintuitive host/director/producer for a doc on that particular topic. For all of his doggedly influential presence at a certain impressionable stage of hip-hop’s development, even when I was a kid I thought what passed for “lyricism” coming from him was laughably dull.
It actually makes him nearly perfect for the job, though - it turns him into a Diane Fossey, making observations on a species he has made himself intimate familiar to and with, but which he could never understand innately. Like when Rakim talks about plotting out sixteen bars, Ice T CANNOT HANDLE THIS INFORMATION. He has NEVER HEARD of knowing how rap works. It quickly becomes really clear why he did what he did, and never what they did.
His selection of interviewees is mostly pretty hard to find fault with, though - especially in the earlier, easterly-oriented segments. Talking to Snoop and Dre is kind of agonizing if you think about what other west coast style innovators he COULD have spent time with… neither of those dudes have ever been competent writers on any level. That was kind of weird
I was frustrated that he didn’t ask better questions, but I LIKED the camaraderie he had with almost everyone he spoke to, so eff it. The only sad thing was that you could almost taste how hard he was PRAYING every time he asked a hip-hop legend to “just say any rhyme that comes into your mind…” that they would kick one of his. It’s cringe-inducing when Snoop finally grants his wish… only to trail off, and have Ice T bring it back because HE IS SO EXCITED SOMEONE SAID HIMMMMMM!
Oh it was also weird how much of it was urban scenes of Ice T, age 67, wearing sunglasses and regarding New York City with an icily restrained yet seething hostility. I think that was because he is an ACTOUR.