Seeing this documentary I can safely say that it changed my way of looking at hip hop, and being a hip hop producer, for ever.
The main character in this documentary is the producer named the 9th Wonder, and his thesis called “These are the breaks”, which he worked on in 2012 and 2013. We follow him as he speaks of his newly achieved fellowship at Harvard University to teach hip hop music theory, and through the follow-up that hip hop should be thought as a music form at every university. Throughout the film we are “in conversation” with his teachers, the people that made sure this fellowship was given to him, his friends, and his journey as he tries to teach the early start of hip hop, where it comes from, and the different ways of looking at hip hop. This is a follow-up documentary of the first film “the wonder year”, and so much of what this film is based on is after-the-fact. Even though I haven’t seen the wonder year, I still immensely enjoyed this film. I personally enjoy hip hop as a music style, and listen to it daily, but after this film I realized how much I didn’t know about this subject. The history of hip hop, the stories behind the music, the sampling techniques they use, and not to mention the huge amount of work it takes making something original from something, yes, original…
As is mentioned in the film, and I agree, hip hop is a music form that was long thought to be a gone’er – something that will go away as soon as it came up – much like disco. Hip hop is somewhat looked down upon, which in the film is discussed as being an issue with race in society. But the one thing that I found the most interesting was the thought that through the knowledge of music sampling from old records, and producing new beats and songs, a bridge is being created between the older generations and the newer generation. The music becomes a shared experience with interpretative meaning, and through hip hop, then, a bridge of communication is opening.
After seeing this film, I got a whole new appreciation for DJ’s, and the work that music producers do. And I can’t think of any better way to spend an hour and a half of my night – I absolutely loved this film! If anything, it was too short! But, as expressed on my Twitter immediately following the film;
“All hail the 9th Wonder, Patrick Douthit – pure genius!”