A couple of years ago we here at DAILY DIGGERS HQ were pleased to check out Deep Crates the Movie - a cool flick that truly represented the art of beatdigging. Sure there had been other small documentaries before, but none quite made from a beat diggers point of view. The others always lacked a little something you know? It featured Lord Finesse, the Beatminerz, and Buckwild amongst others talking about how and where they source their wax to make their beats. I mean, how could you top that? Well our man BEATDAWG has done excatly that in the form of DEEP CRATES 2. Where else can you find out the truth about how much of BDP's "Criminal Minded" LP was actually produced by Ced Gee? Or what the deal is about the use of Tom Scott's "Today" sample in T.R.O.Y.? The answers to these questions and more lie within. For anyone involved in trawling for old beats, this DVD is music to your ears. Plus the secrets behind some of Hip Hop's greatest ever records are unveiled by those that made them. And to top things off, a superb soundtrack of beats is provided by Mr. Attic of Da Grassroots fame. Now we're already a big fan of Attic's so this was a great choice as far as we're concerned.
After months of eagerly awaiting, the DVD hit our doormat, and we sat down to check out the DAWG's latest exploits. We knew Pete Rock was heavily featured in DC2, but even we weren't ready for what we were about to see. Get ready for some serious knowledge!
But first, some background on how things started at BeatDawg's HQ...
Deep Crates pts 1 & 2 are documentary films dedicated to the beatdiggin` culture and are the brainchild of first time filmmaker Jeremy Weisfeld / Beatdawg Films. The Toronto, Canada native has been involved in the Canadian hip hop scene as a DJ & record collector for over 20 years.
His background includes hosting & DJ'ing on one of Toronto`s premier HIP HOP & R&B radio shows `Partners in Crime` - CHRY 105.5 FM from 1989-1996. In addition he served as co-host to Toronto`s first ever breaks & samples program titled `Shifting Gears' dedicated to unearthing old forgotten soul/funk/jazz gems.
Out of his passion for hip hop developed the idea to film an entire documentary dedicated to the record element and it`s importance to hip hop culture. Production began on Deep Crates in the fall of 2002 which involved travelling back & forth between New York and Toronto connecting with some of hip hop`s most legendary DJ`s & producers.
The first film was produced, directed & edited entirely by BEATDAWG, and featured legendary DJ icons such as Diamond D, Lord Finesse, Buckwild, Madlib, Mr.Walt, Evil Dee & Maceo.
Following on the heels of the successful independent DVD Deep Crates - The Movie (2004), Beatdawg Films is proud to announce the release of Deep Crates 2 DVD.
Deep Crates 2 documents the history behind diggin` for samples & creating hip hop beats. Production began on Deep Crates 2 in the spring of 2006, beginning in Japan, followed with filming in New York & Toronto.
The second DVD installment takes you back to the origins of sampling records with the cultures founding pioneers. Worldwide diggin` spots from the USA, Canada & Japan are exposed and record knowledge is dropped from some of hip hop`s most elite DJ`s / Producers.
Featuring exclusive interviews and behind the scenes footage with some of Hip Hop's greatest beat diggers including Pete Rock, Marley Marl, 88 Keys, 45 King, King Of Chill, Ced Gee, DJ Doc, Grand Wizard Theodore, Tony D, Jake One , Moss, DJ Muro, and more...
The film has left a few questions burning in our brains, so we spent a few minutes with BEATDAWG and picked through them one by one!
Deep Crates 2 features some heavyweight producers – Pete Rock, Marley Marl, 45 King, Ced Gee, DJ Doc – how did you persuade these legends to take part on such an in-depth basis??
Many times I would link up with one producer, and if they were feeling the idea they wanted to help. Deep Crates is really their story of what they do, and they want the project to succeed just as much as I do. If they knew of someone that would fit then they would pass me their number, or help set something up. For example, the interview with Marley came through K-Def. He hooked that up 100%. In fact he was there at the time of filming. I remember following him in my car through the New Jersey highways to Marley`s crib. He lives upstate and I would`ve got lost for sure! I would have never got the interview if it wasn`t for K-Def co-signing on Deep Crates. Big Shouts to K!
Access to Pete Rock’s basement is reserved for the most privileged in the game, so how did you hook that up?
Again another lucky situation. Before I even began filming for part 2 I knew I needed to confirm Pete`s involvement. Hands down one of the most important DJ / Producers in hip hop. No question. When you think of a sample based producer you think of Pete. So my man DJ Amir who was featured in part 1 hooked me up with Pete.
I called him up and he was down with what I was doing. I won`t lie, it took a minute to pin him down. He keeps a pretty busy schedule as he DJ`s around the world constantly.
The original plan was to bring him out to Toronto to film his segment. He was amped for this, as he has family that lives here, loves Toronto, the people & loves to dig!
I would call him on his celly and he`d be in Paris or in a meeting somewhere. It just got kinda crazy so we both decided the best thing to do was for me to come out to NY and film there.
Thank god for that because the shots of Pete surrounded by his enormous record collection & samplers was invaluable. What your seeing is his actual home studio set up. 2 rooms full of vinyl and a few keyboards & samplers. I think this was truly one of the highlights of the film.
Were there any producers you wanted to feature in this film, but have to wait until DC3 to interview?
Yeah, Large Pro was at the top of my list for part 2 but couldn`t make it happen. Initially the idea was to feature Pete & Large Pro & build a narrative around that. You know the whole connection there. As it turns out, I connected with Marley Marl & ended up builing a story around him & Pete. I recently heard that Premier is a big fan of the DVD, and Showbiz told me he loved it as well. So who knows, if I wind up doing a third installment I will have to hit them up.
The bonus footage on the DVD is just as worthy of being in the film, so how did you decide what made the final cut?
It had to be cohesive. There was some great material or stories that just didn`t make it into the actual film for varying reasons, but I still wanted to share this material. So I decided to include a bonus feature of raw, uncut footage were your getting it straight from the horses mouth. People like Ced Gee, DJ Doc (see photo to the right), Marley & Pete Rock had great tidbits of info i needed to include. I knew it would leave heads salivating for more.
Both parts 1 & 2 are an incredible insight into beatdigging to those NOT in the know, but you also managed to cram in some real obscure knowledge for the veterans amongst us to chew on. How did you achieve that balance?
You have to try and find a happy medium between the two. It can be tricky sometimes. Like how do you make it interesting and poignant for the real heads who know a lot about diggin` already, and how do you present it so the average joe can follow what`s going on. That`s why included the beginning chapter taking it back to the Bronx and the Bam days. Now this has been discussed in hip hop docs ad nauseum, but it helps put things in perspective for younger folks. I kept it short & moved straight into the chapter on Marley & how he first discovered sampling in hip hop. To my knowledge this had not been covered before in a feature documentary.
The interviews in DC2 are more in-depth than the first film, and you clear up some legendary rumours of the beat-diggin’ game. Was there anything you couldn’t show us in the film??
Ummm, not much. I mean sometimes you may have a situation where someone is badmouthing someone else, and that other person didn`t have a chance to give their side of the story. So I may not use that material. That is responsible journalism. My thing was not to create Beef DVD. Sure it`s entertaining, and there are elements to this in deep crates, but it`s not the focus for what I do. I just try to use my best judgement when deciding what to include, and if it`s a bit touchy I would either discard it or i`d throw it in the bonus section.
As big Grassroots fans, we were happy to hear Mr Attic doing the beats for the soundtrack. What’s the history between you guys?
We met back in the day through a mutual friend on some diggin` shit. Through my man Seer, one of the original cratediggers out here that used to role with Main Source. Anyways we all ended up doing like a breaks style radio show together. We went on mad beatdiggin` missions back in the day to upstate NY, places like Buffalo & Rochester. They used to have real dope spots but are now dried up, or they`ve gone ebay.
Anyways Attic`s beats are always real dope, and he still keeps that boombap sampled based sound alive. So I hit him up for part 1. I know he does a lot of interludes & has tons of beats that never see the light of day so I would go threw his tapes, and see what fits for the film project. His sound really complements what I try to do. I wasn`t looking for fullout tracks just simple basslines with drums that provide more of a soundtrack feel. So he either submitted completed tracks or he would cook something up for me. It worked out well, so I hit him up again for part 2, in fact I would approach him again for future projects.
The film covers the fact that the early days of Hip Hop on wax didn’t truly represent the artform as was intended, until producers began to use the funk in their music. The music industry is in a similar position right now- do you think the "realness" will come back again?
Well the realness never really went away, it`s just no longer represented in what you hear on commercial radio or t.v. I`m not sure if you guys get things like BET over there in the UK, but we get it here in Canada, and its terrible. All day long it`s the same teenie bopper crap like Rhianna or Soldier Boy. Terrible music! And commercial radio is no different. Thank god for college radio. Apparently BET refused to play the last De La Soul video as it didn`t fit in with their demographic? That`s why to me artists like Common or Kanye are a breath of fresh air. It`s a rarity to be doing those types of records on a major label scale.
I heard this record the other day by a local cat named Wio-k called Footloose. Incredible! Stuff like that restores my faith in hip hop, but it will never be exactly the same for me.
How long did it take to meet up with all these dope cats and shoot and edit the film?
Well i started filming part 2 in april 2006. I began in Japan, and then made my way to the U.S. I was filming there over the course of last summer, and finished up in my hometown of Toronto by the end of the summer. I spent the next few months editing the film, i guess roughly 4-6 months, as i was pretty much learning final cut pro as i went along. All in all I spent over a year putting this project together.
You must have missed out on some valuable digging time while shooting this, how did you make up for that??? (or did some trades go on after the camers stopped rolling?)
Yeah, it`s kinda tricky to hold a camera with one hand while diggin` through a shelf with the other. I really had to prioritize and remain focused on the reason I was there. If there was time following an interview than I would dig.
The DVD is due for release in Japan very soon. What’s your plans with that?
Well I hooked up with a company out there called Nowonmedia that is re-releasing both parts 1 & 2 together as one package, and will include Japanese sub titles.
You really need this to help crack the Japanese market. The release date is set for October 26th. I`m hoping we will have great success out there.
click here to see the trailer for release of Deep Crates 2 in Japan
The film has more references to stories behind actual hip hop records than the first instalment did. Was that something you wanted to include after making the first one?
I wanted to include the pics of records & record sleeves to help create meaning for the viewers. It was a mistake not to do this for part 1. I think it helped out a lot for the second installment especially those viewers that are not so familiar with the records being mentioned.
In the film Pete Rock mentions that Large pro once did a remix of "Think" in Pete’s basement. Us Hip Hop fiends love to hear nuggets of info like this, but more importantly where the fuck can we hear that remix?? LOL!
Good question. Next time I speak with Pete I will have to ask him about that. On an interesting side note he did make mention that he is not the same DJ Pete Rock credited for the scratches on that Ed Math 12". His first production credit I believe is for Groove B. Chill.
Finally Beatdawg please give us your personal favourite beats from these producers….?
Marley Marl - The Symphony, Rhyme Time (Kool G Rap), Nobody beats the Biz (Biz), The Bridge (Mc Shan)
Pete Rock - Shut `em Down RMX (P.E.), T.R.O.Y., For Pete's Sake
45 King - No Tricks (Latee), Motivation (Chill Rob G),We Got the Funk (Lakim Shabazz)
Large Pro - Just Hangin Out, Money in the Bank (Kool G Rap), Gotta Get Over RMX (Gangstarr)
Showbiz - Fine Tune Da Mic (Maestro Fresh Wes), 40 Acres & My Props (Show & AG), Hold ya Head (Show & AG)
K-Def - This Cold World (Lord Tariq), Real Live Shit & The Turnaround (Real Live)
Primo - All 4 the Cash / Mostly the Voice / Come Clean (Jeru)
Lord Finesse - Jewelz (O.C.), Actual Facts, Brainstorm
And one more for ya….please give our readers 3 dope breaks to go out and cop on the urgent tip?
1.Lorenzo LP -This is a Canadian break gem. Real solid drums. A cover for Mack The Knife. Possibly a BEATDAWG discovery back in the day?
2.Father LP - Another must have Canadian piece. Attic put me onto it back in the day. Features a cover for Garnett Mimms Stop And Check Yourself - the drums Premier sampled on the Militia. When I played this version for Pete Rock he nearly toppled over in his chair!
3. Frank Motley - Hook `N` Sling - You can find this track featured on most of his albums. I`ve had a few of them. Currently I have the split album he did with King Herbert. Real solid cover of a classic soul track. I played the beat for Diamond in a record shop when i was filming Deep Crates and he went crazy!
Just a few of BeatDawg's raers! (and you know he's got some!!)
Thanks Beatdawg - we can't wait for DC3!!
For more info or to cop your own DEEP CRATES DVD check out beatdawg or peep his myspace page. ...and tell him the DAILY DIGGERS sent ya!