SCRATCH: A TURNTABLISM DOCUMENTARY PART 2 OF 5
Scratching, like each of these elements, draws from all the others. And, as this vibrant film makes abundantly clear, by definition, scratching does not stand still. As much-respected Steve Dee puts it, "Hip-hop is asking you a question, and that question is, what are you going to do?" And you need to come up with an answer, day after day. Discussing the ways that battling shapes his much-adored art and profession, Steve Dee confesses, "I'm competitive. If it's drawing a straight line, I wanna draw the straightest line." Believe it: this guy draws seriously insane straight lines.
This concept of competition, wanting to be "the best," does not keep turntablists apart ("It ain't like real beef"). Rather, they make a point of working together, sharing ideas and encouraging one another. They go on "digging" jaunts (DJ Shadow leads the handheld camera through a basement so stuffed with records that he can barely walk through -- he calls it "my little nirvana," then warns the crew: "Careful, I once found a mummified bat under one of the records"), perform together: several of Scratch's most exciting scenes involve artists playing with one another -- Mix Master Mike (perhaps most famous for his work with the Beastie Boys, and also a member of Invisibl Skratch Piklz) and the popular Filipino DJ Qbert (also of Invisibl Skratch Piklz); or Shadow and Cut Chemist working with Steinski (a.k.a. David Stein), or Jurassic 5 on stage with Cut Chemist and Numark (who says of working with these pioneering MCs, "It's fun, but it's always a challenge").
Such collaborative brilliance is integral to the movement over time, as Scratch lays out.
by Cynthia Fuchs