Scratch (2001)

2 Jun

I’ve been listening to hiphop for many years and when I heard about this documentary about scratching I was very curious to see it. I’ve seen hiphop change over the years, but it is the DJ who has been responsible for the creation and development of this music, even though MCs now define it. The documentary shows where it originated and how DJing developed itself through the years.

Famous DJs like DJ Shadow, DJ Premier (with footage of a Gangstarr show), Mix Master Mike, X-ecutioners, the Beat Junkies and many more are interviewed, resulting in a wide range of opinions and information about the role of the DJ.

Personally I don’t like to listen to music which only consists of scratching, although I am impressed by the skill that is needed to be able to do it. I think when scratching is used sporadically that it adds something to the music. The ultimate example of this are records that are produced by DJ Premier.

The documentary was made in 2001 and DJs talk about the future of scratching. Not many has changed since then. One thing that was funny to hear is that there was one DJ who said that DJing was so popular that there would probably be a DJing game on the Playstation. He thought that would be the ultimate sign that DJing had “sold out”. Last year DJ Hero was published (which was a great game by the way) and had the support of many famous DJs (DJ Shadow, DJ AM, DJ Jazzy Jeff just to name a few) providing mixes.

The movie has been split up into various pieces, all with their own subject matter. The thing that impressed most was DJ Shadow walking around in the basement of a record store, everywhere you look there are stacks and stacks of old records. Nice to hear him describe that all those artists who made those records had dreams about making it. Most of them have been forgotten and DJ Shadow said that current artists should not forget that this could also happen to them.

Whether or not you like hip hop, this documentary gives an interesting insight into this part of the hip hop culture, its development and it’s past. Because of the many interviews it provides a lot of information about scratching which might inspire others to try to pick up DJing as well.

Score: 7

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