Artist: DVD ReviewTitle: Beat Kings: The History of Hip Hop (DVD)Rating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: John Burnett
Beat Kings: The History of Hip Hop (Nature Sounds) provides a much needed point-of-view when it comes to Hip-Hop music. The history of the genre has been told from various perspectives; the MC, the B-Boy and even the Graffiti artist hcave justly gotten their due, but Beat Kings puts you behind the boards with the composers of Hip-Hop, the producers, and allow the legends to kick knowledge on everything from their influences to their techniques and, of course, their equipment.
On this Aari Jubran producer, Ray Stewart and NTZ directed documentary you get to hear from the likes of Marley Marl, DJ Premier, Easy Mo Bee, Prince Paul, Pete Rock, Havoc, Swizz Beatz, Kanye West, the Trackmasters, Salaam Remi, and more. Each storied boarsmith provides their unique but ironically similar point-of-views about their craft. Viewers get a first-hand look at the tools that producers use to create including some of the most primitive drum machines like the Dr. Rhythm unit to the next step up with MPCs and SP’s and the evolution of the in house computer studio suite, Pro Tools. While exploring the equipment, each legend talks about the various techniques they use (chopping, looping and sampling) to produce their signature sounds and how those who came before them heavily influenced their styles. For instance, Easy Mo Bee speaks on how Marley Marl had a big impact on his style while numerous producers big up Pete Rock and relate how his style changed theirs. From the old heads to the new cats, there is a certain respect for the music and the history of the music which is refreshing.
Viewers will get to hear their favorite producer discuss how many hours they put into making music, their accounts of their experiences in the music industry (ups and downs), being “hot,” getting jerked, how to make it in the music biz and their thoughts on the current state of Hip-Hop. To say the least, many are displeased with the current course of the art form. Many of them trash new school producers labeling them as greed-driven opportunists who don’t give a sh*t about the music. And in turn, they feel this is killing the music which is true. Towards the end, viewers will catch a livid Premo (DJ Premier) saying “don’t be mad because we don’t like your music.”
All in all, this is a dope DVD for fans of Hip-Hop, current and future producers and music lovers. It’s a detailed description of all that involves, surrounds and is the producer, straight from the lips of the greats. Consider it a must have for anyone who comes near a drum machine or a computer equipped with Pro Tools or Fruity Loops.