TODAY   |  June 13, 2012

Ice-T: Rap put Obama in White House

Author, actor and former rapper Ice-T discusses “Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap,” a new film he directed, and talks about rap music’s influence on American culture, including how it helped put Barack Obama in the White House.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> role as tough as nails detective tuotola. and now going back to his roots, the author and director, called "something for nothing" the art of rap. we're hip.

>> yeah.

>> congratulations. i guess these premieres are going crazy all over, right?

>> it's incredible. we're promoting the movie backwards, letting all the critics see it first. we're going across the country. we haven't gotten one negative review, in a world of haters, not one. tremendous.

>> is the your directortorial debut. that's pretty miraculous.

>> we took it to sundance. that was the bar. it got bought the first day. now we have a release this friday. theatrical release.

>> it's two hours long. documentaries aren't always always -- seems to me rarely that long.

>> when i started, i had a six hour cut. it was hard to get it to two hours.

>> you come from rap and understand this better than anyone. you aid eminem was a surprising interview. why is that?

>> we got em to open up. i only interviewed my friends and people i knew. eminem went in and started tell me all kinds of stuff how rap saved him and brought him back from overdose and all kinds of good stuff people need to hear.

>> it was funny how rap is one of those things that has crossed over into mainstream and i think pretty quickly. did that surprise you? you've seen it from its infancy.

>> 25 years ago when we started to hit, everybody said it was a fad. now, it's like a global thing. i made the movie, i'm sitting back watching the weatherman rap, i'm like, really? do people even really know where this comes from, now, it's so much a part of the culture, i wanted to say something.

>> there are lyrics i find personally really really offensive and other things, i think, that's cool. is there anything that offends you? you're a father. is there anything in there that offends you?

>> my thing is, you know, it's art. art sometimes is offensive. i could go to, you know, any art gallery and i might look up and say, okay, that might be a little bit aggressive. if you're really digging the shakespeare, there's a lot of heavy stuff going on in there.

>> no kidding.

>> it's one of those things, it's for the person that appreciates it. this may be a little bit too hard for you. no matter how hard you go, it's not hard enough for some people.

>> do you think it has had a negative influence on culture in any way?

>> totally positive. brought the races together. put barack obama in the presidency. if it wasn't for rap, white people wouldn't have been so open to vote for somebody like barack obama but it was hip-hop 20 years ago that got people people -- women to vote. there's only 10% black people in this united states . white people voted for barack.

>> i would think because they thought he was a good candidate, not because he was black.

>> that had to happen after their eyes were opened up and hip-hop was what brought us together. hip-hop took down a lot of those boundaries, music did that.

>> let's talk a little bit about cocoa. a lot of people know you from l l " law & order ."

>> if you live in my house, the last thing you need to read is 50 shades of gray . i can tell you we would have done 50 shades of blue , orange, yellow and pink.

>> so things are good at home.

>> look at him.

>> he's got a big old smile on his face.

>> we wish you good luck with the opening of your movie. opening in theaters this friday.

>> still ahead, father knows best .

>>> how much do you know about your favorite tv and movie dad. we'll talk to someone who knew.

>>> plus, ending the school year