`Scratch' celebrates hip-hop

Infectious sound is a joy for the ears, hard on vinyl

Movie Review

May 17, 2002|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Scratch will make even the uninitiated believe in the joy and propulsive power of hip-hop.

The history of the music is given plenty of due, beginning with Grand Wizard Theodore's recollection of how he invented the hip-hop DJ back in the early 1970s when, after his mom complained about the loud music, he stopped the record with his hand and liked the sound that came out - that distinctive scratching sound that hip-hop DJs have been playing endless variations of ever since.

There's also considerable homage paid to Herbie Hancock's groundbreaking (and sonically addictive) 1984 single, "Rockit," with Grandmaster D.ST doing the scratching.

But Scratch is less history lesson than celebration, letting audiences thrill and bop to the sounds of such energetic talents as Qbert, Dee, Mix Master Mike and DJ Shortkut. The sound is infectious in the best sense of the word, and Scratch lets us all in on the hows and whys.

Record lovers will no doubt cringe when one of the DJs talks about how scratching can ruin a record, leave it a mass of vinyl shards surrounding deep ruts. But at least after watching this documentary, you'll know the discs are dying for a good cause.

Scratch

Directed by Doug Pray

Released by Palm Pictures/Intermedia Films

Unrated (Language)

Running time 92 minutes

SUN SCORE: ***1/2

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