Scratch (2001)

R   |    |  Documentary, Music


Scratch (2001) Poster

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.


7.9/10
2,687

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Director:

Doug Pray

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11 February 2004 | cannibal_cat
8
| Fantastic
Being a huge fan of hip-hop and turntablism to begin with, I always knew I would like this film. However, I wasn't prepared for just how good the documentary actually is. It covers almost all the important aspects of the only element of hip-hop which has been there from the very start. The "story" begins in the early 70's, and follows the evolution of turntablism as an art from up until early 2000 (turntablism aficionados will point this out as significant).

The editing is nigh on perfect throughout the film. Aside from the excellent visual "scratch" techniques which they used, the rapid cutting between interviews and the stock footage is excellent, giving the film pace when it is needed. The sound editing is also very good, with some nice sweeping sounds being used to help with transitions.

The absence of a narrator was also welcome. We aren't taken by the hand through the story, and as a result the audience is able to make their own assumptions easier. Each DJ adds another side to the story, and it is so interesting to hear about the unknown stars of hip-hop, especially those who were there when hip-hop was being shunned left, right and centre by the music business.

Although there are many excellent things about this film, I do have a few gripes. The biggest of these is the absence of several notable DJs, such as Ca$hMoney and Jazzy Jeff, and also DJs from outside America, such as Scratch Perverts and DJ Noise. However, if you watch the commentary on the DVD (something which I highly recommend), producer and director go in to great depth about how they regret not being able to feature them. The deleted scenes contain many interviews with Ca$hMoney, Jazzy Jeff and the Scratch Perverts.

This is definitely the best documentary I've seen on hip-hop culture and music. It does stop short of showing the true potential of turntablism; for that I highly recommend checking out the DMC and ITF videos. However, that is a minor quibble. I highly recommend this movie, not least for the phat soundtrack, with excellent music throughout. (9/10)

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