Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Diggin' Deep

A few months back, we looked at the first beat digging documentary, titled simply Beat Diggin'. It was raw, but it was dope. Probably due to its length and lower budget, to this day, it remains unreleased on DVD. However in 2004, Beat Diggin' was followed up, and in many ways eclipsed, by another beat digging documentary, called Deep Crates. It's full-length (well, borderline... it's about 70 minutes; but compare that to Beat Diggin's 30) features more name producers and unlike Beat Diggin', Deep Crates is available on DVD. So it's easy to see why the one has overshadowed the other for many people.

Beat Diggin'
is great and still worth seeing, with some hot, exclusive interviews. But I can't front on Deep Crates. It may not've done it first, but it did it hard... it's a succession of tightly edited interviews with a ton of interesting producers including big names like Buckwild, Beatminerz, Madlib and Diamond D to less obvious but just as compelling heads like Maseo, DJ Format, Peanut Butter Wolf and Mike Heron. And there's no padding with unrelated performance footage here, it's just no-frills interviews of non-stop talking on what you wanna here. Later in the doc, though, we do also take trips to various important record shops, etc., and go diggin' with some of the artists.

Deep Crates was successful enough that it spawned a sequel in 2007. And Deep Crates 2 is at least as compelling as Deep Crates 1. It features a ton of great artists that weren't in the first one, like Pete Rock, Marley Marl, The 45 King, Grand Wizard Theodore, K-Def, Tony D, Lord Digga... You really get the feeling that by the end of this one, between Deep Crates and Beat Diggin', they'd really reached just about everybody that should be in one of these docs. The big difference with this one is that it focuses more on production, and sampling after the digging's already been done. This time they also go all the way out to Japan to interview some heads over there.

Unlike the first one, the DVD for Deep Crate 2 features extras as well. There's about 30 minutes of extended interview footage, featuring clips of the artists from the film speaking on more that didn't quite fit the tone and theme of the film. It's also a shorter film, though (about 60 minutes, with a very long closing credits sequence accounting for about 5 of those), so it all evens out to about the same as the first one. ...But a movie isn't judged like lumber, in terms of length. It's about quality, substance. And any five minutes of Deep Crates 2 is worth may more than a full DVD's worth of South Beach Raw or some of these other DVDs I've reviewed.

These movies are several years old now, and most places seem to've long since sold out of them. But they're still both available on DVD direct from the production company's website, They've also got a pair of myspace pages here and here. So if you weren't already up on 'em, check these flicks out; because alongside Beat Diggin', these are the quintessential diggin' documentaries.

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