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Date posted:04-8-02

Scratch: Documentation of An Art Form

by Andreas Lan
Page Layout by Justin Young


When the documentary Scratch opens in theaters nationwide this week, it will seek to dispel the perception that rap is a monotonous form of music performed by untalented people. Scratch is a film, which focuses on the life of DJ's and rappers, who maintain loyalty to the original fathers of rap in their music.

Scratch portrays the unknown underdogs and serious virtuosos who are radically changing the way we hear, play and create music. Without them, the way we hear hip hop on the radio would not be the way it is today and will be 20 years down the road. The film allows the people, us, to know what it is really like in the hip-hop world. It shows the people who the real pioneers in scratch were and gives them credit rather the "frauds" heard on the radio. By depicting the life of these DJ's, the audience is cut in to what the game of hip-hop really revolves around and that there is a certain authenticity to this game.

This ground-breaking form of music first came about in the middle of the 1970's. People began putting down their Motley Crue tapes and began running to the music store to pick up the latest Public Enemy LP or Grand Master Flex LP. This new and innovative style of music received the sobriquet RAP for Rhythm and Poetry. Initially, RAP was a way for the black and Latino urban communities to express themselves artistically. However, as Rap rose through the ranks, the original pioneers were overlooked by the mainstream media and weren't given the credit that they in effect deserved.

As this new form of music emerged in urban America, it also brought two other essentiallycomponents: break dancing and graffiti. Graffiti is the urban method of expressing oneself artistically, however, using spray paint on walls rather than a brush on canvas. Writers such as Cope2, KRSONE who gained his fame through rap began filling the streets with this new kind of art. People from these communities also expressed themselves through dance. But this dance deviated from their traditional roots of dance because it involved a certain amount of strength and it was performed to RAP. Break dancing, as people came to know it, required that one support himself in the air while doing various movements with his or her body. However, this form of dance lost interest even as both Graffiti and Rap gained popularity.

Today rap is perceived by many as an untalented, monotonous form of music. Hip Hop critics say this is due to the major labels placing too much on sex, money, drugs, and violence. Many critics of hip hop feel that rappers are no longer concerned about giving out a positive message and expressing their true selves, they are more focused on rapping on what will catch the publics' eye, and keep their pockets filled.

Throughout the video, the idea of how what the radio plays is superficial in relation to the rest of hip-hop because all the radio plays are the same beats and rhymes recycled. At one instance in the film, a new up and coming DJ, DJ Qbert, begins scratching without using the mixer. As you may or may not know, the mixer is an essential part in the making of hip-hop music. Without the mixer, the DJ cannot mix two records together. The film allows the radio fiends to become aware of the men who were the pioneers in hip-hop such as The Grand Wizard Theodore who invented the scratch.
The film Scratch depicts the life of several DJ's in the game, from Jazzy Jay to The Grand Wizard Theodore, who created the scratch. The documentary is trying to reach out to the hip hop communities from all over, West Coast, East Coast to, Asian, white black, let the listener into what is the real hip hop movement. So go out there and support it. Go out and see it with a friend that has no clue about the hip hop world.

View Trailer
Documentary Film:
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