Monday, October 09, 2006

Scratch: See, Look & Learn about the Birth of a Hip Hop Nation

A friend of mine gave me her copy of the film Scratch, Doug Pray's Hip Hop-umentary, to check out because she thought I'd like it--she was on it. I'd written pieces before wherein I reflected back on how hip hop was in the early days back on the East Coast ; outside of hours of extensive readings of books and album jackets, Scratch is one of the best filmed chronicles of how the hip hop nation came to fruition. The flick's jumping off point begins with DJ Premiere's recollection of hearing a scratch for the first time as a kid in Texas and quickly cuts to Mix Master Mike (speed cutting in his den) who expounds on what a scratch is --- these two separate 30 second segments set the tone for what's covered in the fim proper: getting to the heart of what hip hop is a transcendental journey of sorts and everyone devoted to it has his own love story to tell about where he/ she found the funk.

Clocking in at 1:32, Pray manages to cover a lot of ground in a segment entitled Elements which begins in the Bronx River Housing area (the low-income housing skyscrapes where some of the first seedlings of hip hop found purchase; began to germinate and eventually took root all over the globe). The first quarter of the film gives the viewer a peek at what was known as "Little Vietnam" as described by none other than Afrika Bambaataa, a foundind member of the Zulu Nation; Soulsonic Force (still rockin' those Star Trek shades) and it gives an in-depth exposition on the early, humble beginnings in one of the poorest sections of NYC; in the early 70's and makes for a fascinating reflection on what has now a world-wide musical phenomenon overrun by the bling set: things weren't always so...see whole story here

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