The story of the hip-hop DJ from the birth of hip-hop to the invention of scratching and "beat-juggling" vinyl, to the more recent "turntablism" movement. Underdogs and virtuosos who have radically changed the way we hear and create music.
A feature-length documentary film about hip-hop DJing, otherwise known as turntablism. From the South Bronx in the 1970s to San Francisco now, the world's best scratchers, beat-diggers, party-rockers, and producers wax poetic on beats, breaks, battles, and the infinite possibilities of vinyl.Written by
To create the "scratched" sequences in the film (where a person during an interview suddenly speaks as if the film itself is being scratched), director Doug Pray sent audio clips which had been recorded onto vinyl to DJ Q-bert, who scratched them, and sent the recordings back to Pray. Pray then edited the interviews to match the scratched sound. See more »
Apologies and respect to the many great DJ's and others who we were unable to be included in this film. See more »
Scratch is the story of scratch music's evolution from its birth in the late seventies/ early eighties to its ever growing musical status in modern day culture. Scratch tells the story of the music with the help of some of the most important scratch pioneers of the last 20 years, such as Babu (of Dilated Peoples and Beat Junkies), DJ Q-Bert and Afrika Bambaataa amongst others. These interviews give us an incite about how the music was born and its growth. We also get helpful tips on the art of scratching from Q-Bert and Mix Master Mike (from The Beastie Boys).
I am interested in a lot of genres of music, jazz, rock, indie etc. but I have never invested much interest in scratching, sure I have all the classic rap albums, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem etc. and I have recently got into new hip-hop (a musical genre that uses DJs a lot) such as Dilated Peoples (who's performance in the film made my day), Blackalicious and Jurassic 5 (also featured), but I still had no idea of the art of scratching (or turntablism as it's referred to here), so I went into this movie no sure what to expect.
This movie is very similar to a lot of the documentaries that have been appearing in the last few years from America, such as Baadasssss Cinema (the story of blacksploitation films), The Backyard and Beyond the Mat (both about the growing popularity of wrestling). But the documentary it seemed to have the most in common with was American Pimp (the story of surprise, surprise American pimps). It was almost the same documentary, sharp editing, grainy camera work, loud soundtrack, sharp dialogue and the DJ's taking over the part of the flamboyant, over the top and eccentric pimps and matching them for madness on every level. And I was justified in my beliefs when I read in the credits that the film was produced by the two directors of American Pimp, Allen and Albert Hughes (who also directed Dead Presidents and From Hell) and later found out that the director of Scratch, Doug Pray was also the editor of American Pimp (he also edited Scratch).
It's not surprising that it is edited by the director as the editing is an important part of the movie and helps the music get noticed a lot more. He almost makes the footage like the music, rewinding it slowing it down, speeding it up and all sorts of other techniques, which although brilliant do give you a bit of a headache after an hour or so.
But apart from the moderate headache this is a very good movie that I thing will really change your opinion on scratching if you aren't a fan. And if you are a fan then this is a must see. Good direction, superb editing and an interesting subject matter, go and see it if you get the chance.
7 out of 10
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