Review/Live Event Recap Of Stones Throw’s ‘Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton’ Documentary Screening

Posted: March 12, 2014 by ericbernsen in Music, News
Tags: , , , , ,

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With practically the whole music world invading Austin, Texas for the widely heralded SXSW festival this week, there will be countless events for members to attend. While the list of concerts and conferences may be overwhelming, one show that we highly recommend attending would be the film screening of “Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton”, a documentary that chronicles the history of the infamous indie hip-hop label Stones Throw Records. We got the opportunity to attend a special screening of the film in Cambridge, MA last week, and label founder Peanut Butter Wolf was in attendance for a Q&A after the show. The film weaves together rare footage from concerts, never before seen interviews as well as old in-studio clips, making it a must-watch for hip-hop fans who have an appreciation for the music that has come from the label over the last 15+ years.

The film starts with an inside look at the beginnings of Stones Throw Records and the foundation that Peanut Butter Wolf built in its early days. After developing a solid buzz throughout the California hip-hop scene, Peanut Butter Wolf’s partner and close friend Charizma tragically lost his life and this left the fate of Stones Throw up in the air. However, after persevering through the many trials and tribulations, Peanut Butter Wolf caught his big break by linking up with the now legendary producer Madlib. The underground hip-hop world took notice of Madlib’s multi-dimensional talents behind the boards and from there the label skyrocketed in the independent rap ranks. The documentary goes behind the scenes with Madlib about why Stones Throw Records was (and still is) an appealing home for him as well the golden years that resulted in classic albums such as Champion Sound (his collab effort with J Dilla) and Madvillainy with MF Doom.

With many considering that time period as the musical peak for the label, fans were caught off guard in the years later (after J Dilla’s passing) in which Peanut Butter Wolf experimented with out-of-left-field artists from different genres other than hip-hop. Nevertheless, one of the more essential takeaways from the film was that the beauty of Stones Throw is its ‘melting pot’ quality in which there are no creative boundaries or restraints. The label’s adventurous founder has never been concerned with the critics who have accused him of ‘branching out too far’ because the only thing Peanut Butter Wolf has ever cared about is quality music. This forward-thinking mindset is the exact reason why so many artists have such a high respect for what Stones Throw Records represents, and the detailing of these contributions makes the documentary a fantastic watch. And from producing crossover neo-soul acts such as Aloe Blacc and Mayor Hawthorne as well as bringing the talent of funk ambassador Dam-Funk to the spotlight in recent years, it is clear the label is still relevant as ever in a musical climate that usually does not reciprocate Stones Throw’s free-thinking  characteristics.

Luckily enough, the first five minutes of the documentary has hit the Internet for those who are not down at SXSW. The film features appearances from a boatload of prolific artists such as  Talib Kweli, Kanye West, QuestLove, A-Trak, Madlib, Snoop Dogg, Mike D, Tyler The Creator, Common, and many more. You can watch the snippet below!

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