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!
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Ratings and Reviews
Critics Consensus: Whether you know anything about turntablism or not, Scratch makes for fun and informative viewing.