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Currently Browsing: Documentaries

Walk and Talk… All Day

The Message: BE YOURSELF all.damn.day, y'all.

Earlier this month the timelessness of Girl Talk’s appeal was again reinforced by Houston’s OG Ron C who delivered a ridiculous chopped and screwed version of 2010′s All Day with his Purple All Day reinterpretation. For fans of the original, Purple is a must listen. But perhaps more satisfying than its syrupy sounds might be its call for fans to rediscover other works which have utilized the source in creating something unique and exciting. My memories quickly led me to a variety of video mashups that have surfaced in the 20 or so months that have passed since All Day‘s release (BDLFilms’ is rather fantastic), but the derivative project that remains a standout is the performance art piece developed by director Jacob Krupnick titled Girl Walk // All Day.

The story of how the 70+minute film was developed revolves around its position as another of Kickstarter’s many success-stories, but in brief it happened like this: In the span of about five months beginning in December 2010, the full-length feature project was conceived and the $4800 needed to produce it was fully funded (the online support following the release of a demo trailer was massive, eventually bringing in nearly $25k). The entire production was filmed and produced in the following seven months before the first chapter was released via Gothamist, with new installments coming quickly before the complete film eventually screened in its entirety at such events such as Bonnaroo, SXSW, and the Munich Film Festival [...]

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Scratch: The Story of Hip-Hop Turntablism

"Havin' fun is what it's all about."

I still can’t believe how interesting this doc was. Usually when I’m watching any documentary, I surf the net or do something else to bide the time. Scratch, however, kept my attention 99% of the time – I had the laptop on for the first few minutes (habit).

Scratch mainly focused on DJing/turntablism/scratching, hence the name, but it was all hip-hop. It covered the important figures in the development of turntablism and the effect it’s had on hip-hop as a whole.

I’ve been reading Jeff Chang’s “Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop” and a lot of the material from Scratch tied into the book. The doc also really helped me put faces to some of the figures in the book – I suck at remembering names and what they actually did, unless I get a glimpse of their face.

Once you get into it, the rest is a breeze. I was actually wanting more at the ended, unlike most times, but it was definitely full of some good info.

Give a shout-out to your favorite DJ from this – I’ll post mine in the comments a lil’ later.

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Rebel Music: The Bob Marley Story

The heart-wrenching tale of a legendary reggae superstar.

Bob Marley on Ethiopian Flag

It was interesting to hear Bob Marley sit down and talk for once. Before this documentary I had only seen him in videos from his concerts, which he barely spoke what he didn’t sing. Rebel Music: The Bob Marley Story does a good job at presenting him as a struggling man trying to overcome the oppression of his people. The film takes you through the political turmoils throughout his life and the battles he waged through words. His story reminds me of Ghandi’s, both struggling for individual freedom in one form or another.

I chose No Woman No Cry because of the memories I’ve shared with it. Bob Marley and the Wailers have contributed many songs that seem to have popped up in some point in my life, as I’m sure some have for yours.

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Ghost Ride the Whip (The Hyphy Movement)

Thizz or Die - The Hizztory of Gettin' Thizzy

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Ghost Ride the Whip (The Hyphy Movement) is a documentary based on where the Bay Area got its roots from and why the culture is like it is today. It covers many key proponents of the movement, including Keek da Sneek, E-40, and even M.C. Hammer, but one in particular is highlighted, Mac Dre.

When I first heard about Mac Dre in 2004 I had just started out college. My roommate, who’s from the Bay, was upset about a rapper who had been murdered. I had no idea who he was at the time, but since then I’ve gotten to know his music and now fully understand why Mac Dre will be missed so much. What makes him so memorable is his lyrically inventive rhymes, coming up with shit that’s still fresh & fun today. Not only that, he’s an artist that puts some amusement in hip hop, giving us a break from all the serious shit (which is definitely needed at times). To be fair though, many protest what Mac Dre and some others of the movement advocate, questioning its dangers.

Some elements of the Hyphy Movement include Ghost-riding & Thizzin’, which as fun as they may be… can be dangerous. But people need to realize that those elements are not what the Hyphy Movement is solely about. What it all really comes down to is having a good time or more commonly know there as: gettin’ stupid, goin’ stewie, etc. etc. (I tried looking up synonyms of go stupid without much success). Some may not understand why gettin’ stupid would be fun, but I think it’s just because they haven’t tried it themselves.

Whether your into Bay Area hip hop or not, this is an informative & entertaining film that all hip hop heads need to watch. I’ve also included one of Mac Dre’s best in case any of y’all don’t have anything to get stewie to. R.I.P. Mac Dre.

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Copyright Criminals: This is a Sampling Sport

A documentary by Benjamin Franzen & Kembrew McLeod

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“Copyright Criminals” is an episode from the PBS series, Independent Lens, which premiered January 19th of this year. Independent Lens is a series that “introduces new documentaries and dramas made by independent thinkers: filmmakers who are taking creative risks, calling their own shots and finding untold stories in unexpected places”. If you like this feature then check out the rest of the series, it’s very well done.

The reason I chose to feature this documentary is because (a.) apparently, I need to post more than just music, or so some of my viewers think; (b.) it informs viewers about the problems and benefits of DJ’s sampling music from a fairly neutral perspective; and (c.) simply put, it’s a good watch. I’ve watched a couple of other documentaries about music sampling, and I felt this one was the least bias. It gave fair and equal arguments to both sides of the situation, and presented it in a professional, yet engaging fashion.

There are many DJ/producers featured in this documentary, my favorite being Jeff Chang, author of a book I’m reading right now, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, and more importantly, a founding member of the Soulsides record label (which is now Quannum Projects). Others featured include Public Enemy & George Clinton, but the most sincere & touching artist featured was Clyde Stubblefield (drummer for James Brown). Clyde talks about his openness and appreciation for people sampling his music, but only asks for one thing in return, credit! Even over money, Clyde just wants people to recognize that he was the original creator. I mean common, if you’re gonna sample someone’s music, the least you can do is credit them (among other things, case by case). I think that’s fair… don’t you Give us your opinions in the comments section. We’d love to hear ‘em.

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