Scratch (2001)
January 11, 2023 3:21 PM - Subscribe

A feature-length documentary film about hip-hop DJing, otherwise known as turntablism. From the South Bronx in the 1970s to San Francisco now (or circa 2001, anyway), the world's best scratchers, beat-diggers, party-rockers, and producers wax poetic on beats, breaks, battles, and the infinite possibilities of vinyl.

trailer, review (NYT, 2002), review (AUstin Chronicle, 2002), clips with Mixmaster Mike, DJ Shadow, jam session.

2002 DVD, for rent or sale from Apple and Amazon, YT link that will someday be deleted.
posted by box (2 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I remember watching this when it came out because DJ Shadow was in it. I'd love to see an updated version that covers the last 20 years.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:25 PM on January 11

A more ambitious version of me might make an FPP about the last twenty years of turntablism, or at least a where-are-they-now. Some of the people in Scratch became producers, Rob Swift is really into educating DJs, the battle scene has been transformed by Serato, and beatmaking has come into its own as something that doesn’t need rappers—Shadow and Dilla should both get some credit for that. A lot of the energy that went into crate-digging seems to have split off into reissue labels and beat tapes and making mixes that, because none of these folks ever cared about clearance, have become scarce in the streaming era. I remember when blending purists weren’t quite sure what to make of digital mashups, and Z-Trip’s Obama mix was briefly a minor big deal.

It’s tempting to look at music documentaries as a high-water mark, and some of them are, but I think this one is a snapshot of something once very underground that was already on its way to making its mark on the larger culture.
posted by box at 5:17 PM on January 11

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