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Beat Kings DVD

Nature Sounds

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The cover of Beat Kings makes a suggestion to "respect the architect" -- an action carried out in loving detail with this documentary honoring hip-hop producers and their underrated contributions to the art form. Luminaries such as Marley Marl, DJ Premier and the RZA describe the evolution of their production styles, allowing a rare glimpse inside the minds and their machines at work. Those who geek out for these sorts of techniques have much to devour here, but it should also fascinate the unexposed. And in a slightly disjointed, creepy highlight, Kanye West predicts his soar to the top of the pops with eerie accuracy in an interview conducted before his debut. Extras include gems such as Pete Rock fiddling with a beat, David Banner offering brutally honest advice and a Brooklyn beat battle between aspiring producers playing live. The film could be twice as long and still be compelling. 4 stars.

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