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Scratch (2001)

Cast: Q-Bert, Q-Bert, Afrika Bambaataa, more...
Director: Doug Pray, Doug Pray
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Palm Pictures
Genre: Documentary, Music, Documentary, Music
Languages: English
    see additional details...

While rappers may be the most visible musical exponents of hip-hop culture, it's the DJs (or "turntablists," as some prefer to be called) who generate the funky beats and cut-and-paste musical structures that have made hip-hop the dominant musical phenomena of the past 20 years. Scratch is a documentary that examines the role of the DJ in hip-hop music, from the pioneering work of old school hip-hop artists like Afrika Bambaata and Jazzy Jay to contemporary masters like noted trip-hop musician DJ Shadow and award-winning turntablist group Invisibl Skratch Piklz. The film also explores how DJs turned the turntable into a musical instrument, the increasingly elaborate techniques involved in "scratching" (manipulating vinyl discs, turntables, and tone arms to produce different sonic effects), and how different turntablists dig up the rare and elusive LPs from which they draw the samples that they craft into new songs. Scratch was directed by Doug Pray, who previously examined a different musical phenomenon -- the Seattle rock scene that spawned the grunge explosion -- in his film Hype!. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

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GreenCine Member Ratings

Scratch (2001)
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7.48 (118 votes)
Scratch (Bonus Disc) (2001)
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7.00 (15 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

thorough, but too long by Soleus November 17, 2004 - 4:16 PM PST
0 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Definitely an education in the history of a culture and it's many branches. But after a while it got a bit redundant. Some of those crews just did not need to be in there! One, hrmm what was their name? Scratch Hamsters or something like that, just sat there, complaining, not really contributing to the movie, and their actual playing, eh, average. And that Naut Humon guy, why was he in there?

Anyway, overall a great, if in need of a trimming, movie.

Why it's hard to make movies about music by MrBunBun November 15, 2003 - 2:11 AM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
It's hard to capture music on film with a bunch of talking heads. This movie seemed to go on a little too long. It was informative but discursive, didn't seem to have a clear plan or focus. Though DJing is a really wide field and scratching less so, the POV is really from and for DJs who stand alone w/o rap artists or bands though it explicitly attempts to include references to the broad range of musical styles scratching/djing can cover. As you can tell, I'm on of the "uninitiated". I would call this the definitive film on scratching because as far as I know, it's the only (widely released) documentary on scratching.

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