Film Doc Offers Sincere Look at Beatmaking Community; Depicts the Aspirations and General Plight of Dedicated Beatmakers
The Beatmaking tradition has become quite the media darling in recent years. Countless YouTube videos with beatmakers (well-known and lesser-known) crop up each day, and many music websites have taken to featuring and interviewing beatmakers just as much (and in some cases more) than rappers. So the recently released Beatmakers documentary comes at a time when the spotlight on beatmaking is rapidly rising.
Divided into 15 chapters, Beatmakers is essentially a series of one-on-one beatmaker interviews that seek to explore many areas of beatmaking as well as the tight-knit community that encompasses all beatmakers. At the head of each segment, each beatmaker responds (presumably) to the questions and topics raised by the film’s director and writer Laron Austin. The featured beatmakers chime in on everything from gear selection and cost, to personal style and sound, to influences and inspiration, to the debate about sampling, and much more. Some discussions are certainly more engaging than others, but the overall framework of the film is sincere and serious rather than contrived and superficial. Indeed, the film is at its best when it embraces its frank conversational nature and gets below the surface of many off-discussed beatmaking topics.
To the extent of beatmakers breaking down the craft, or demonstrating the way in which they make beats, some viewers may be left wanting more. However, to be fair, although there are no intended tutorials in the film, several beatmakers give great demonstrations of their approach, techniques, and regular workflow. Had Beatmakers included more footage of each beatmaker actually beatmaking, I think the film would have been stronger. But the lack of actual beatmaking footage doesn’t undermine the film, as Beatmakers seems to be more focused on commentary about the beatmaking culture rather than instruction in beatmaking. Even still, if you watch certain segments carefully, you will undoubtedly pick up a few beatmaking jewels.
Finally, I should point out that there are no household beatmaker names in the film. Perhaps that is one of the things that gives Beatmakers its advantage, as it does quite a good job at showing beatmakers as a serious community of dedicated musicians, who make great sacrifice for the love of the beatmaking art form and for the pursuit of one ultimate goal: a career personified by acclaim and credibility.
For educational purposes…
Beatmakers (NOTE. This film has a running time of 1hr 30 minutes.)Articles, Beatmaking, Music Education, Themes, Theories, and Concepts