Updated: Jun 6, 2020
It's both enlightening and entertaining to learn from the keepers of the craft. That craft, of course, is the glorious craft of music production. Here's our list of documentaries that many music producers are sure to love, learn from and, hopefully, find some inspiration.
"Another Beat" | Dr. Dre
This doc focuses on one of the greatest hip-hop producers ever in Dr. Dre.
"The Legacy of Denniz Pop" | Denniz Pop
After producing some of the biggest pop hits of the 90s and mentoring a young Max Martin, Denniz Pop met a tragic death that came all too soon for his family and the musicians he influenced. This doc features the subject's son talking to those with whom he worked with and helped in a successful effort to keep his father's legacy alive.
"The Eighth Planet" | The Neptunes
Get a glimpse into the creative process behind one of music's most influential production tandems at the height of their radio dominance. This rare look back at Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams is a true gem if you're a fan of The Neptunes. Watching this should inspire some creativity and spark a few ideas.
"Crate Diggers: J Dilla" | Fuse
In this Fuse piece the focus is on the late, great legend; Detroit native, J Dilla. His influence on the generation of producers that would follow after him is undeniable. His passion for creating tracks and flipping samples carried right on as he continued to tour in a wheelchair and produce from a hospital room while slowly losing a battle with a rare blood disease. Another great, gone too soon but not soon forgotten.
"Still Storch" | Scott Storch
Follow the "Piano Man" as he reflects on what he's accomplished, how he lost everything, and how he overcame his demons to prove he's still one of the greatest music producers to ever do it.
"EARWORM" | Vox
Honestly this entire series of documentary shorts is fantastic. Vox's Estelle Caswell carefully explores musical history, shifting trends and the cultural impact music can have. Her thoughtful insight and analysis of a broad range of songs, artists and meaningful moments in history reminds us of the kind of bold content pioneered by VICE over a decade ago. Binge-watch this series for endless inspiration and an interesting perspective.
"How Sampling Transformed Music" | Mark Ronson
One of pop music's most accomplished music producers, Mark Ronson, gives a TED Talk on the evolutionary impact that sampling has had on modern music.
"Copyright Criminals" | Sampling or Stealing?
This documentary spotlights the controversial practice of "sampling" by music producers and DJs and allows for both sides of the debate to have a voice. No matter one's position on the practice, this doc will provoke some thought and perhaps provide some insight as to where either side is coming from.