West Coast Theory (2009)

2 Jun

The West Coast has managed to produce a lot of big rap artists and classical albums. N.W.A., Ice Cube, Dr.Dre, Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill are just a few examples. The sounds are unique and can also be heard on records by artists who didn’t grow up there like Eminem or 50 Cent. There’s a certain vibe that is difficult to describe in words, when you hear it you just know that it is that sound, often a laid back vibe to it, but other times it can also be raw as hell. West Coast Theory is a documentary about the producers behind many well known hits and tries to show the different aspects of music production.

A lot of producers (Fred Wreck, Jelly Roll, DJ Muggs, DJ Revolution, DJ Babu, Evidence) and artists (Snoop Doog, Too $hort, Will I Am, B-Real and Xzibit) were interviewed. They are also shown making some beats, explaining how songs are mixed or how specific instruments work. The documentary is divided into several subjects, but with this documentary (not counting the extras) running at only 60 minutes there’s too much to show and not enough time to do so. This results and quick cuts of various artists and producers talking about the subject, but not in enough detail to make a lasting impression. There must have been hours of footage shot for this documentary and by lengthening it the end result might have been a bit more balanced. Some artists only appear on screen for less than a minute (like Too $hort, Xzibit and Will I Am).

Of course the main focus is on the producers, musicians and sound engineers. It’s always inspiring to see them do their thing. When I was 17 or 18 years old I created some beats on Fasttracker (and later with Fruity Loops), wrote lyrics and even performed a couple of times around the country. After a while I just had other interests and stopped doing that, but the love and interest for the creation of music and the energy it can give you always keeps fascinating me. Those parts were the most interesting, but after I finished watching this documentary I really didn’t feel I learned a lot of new things. I wish the documentary would have been more focussed and had a longer running time. It ended up disappointing me even though interesting subject were discussed.

Score: 5

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