Stones Throw Records was founded by Chris Manak (Peanut Butter Wolf). Based in Los Angeles, California, the avant-garde independent record label is run with the ethos that if Wolf likes it, they’ll release it. Since its inception in 1996, and building a reputation largely around hip hop until fairly recently, Stones Throw have released music by some of the most innovative and experimental artists in the genre including: J Dilla, Madlib/Quasimoto, Mayer Hawthorne & Aloe Blacc.
Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton charts the history of the label, from its inception to the music the label is releasing today. What shines through this impressive film is the love of, and dedication to, music Wolf has. There’s a long roster of famous faces who appear to help tell the story, demonstrating the high regard with which Stones Throw is held. Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Common, Questlove, Talib Kweli, Mike D and Tyler the Creator are all interviewed as this fascinating story unravels. There’s a huge sense of fun, with laughter and humour never far away, whilst some of their more leftfield roster add more than a hint of the bizarre.
Interviews are intercut with archive and live footage which builds up a picture of what Wolf has been trying to achieve. He could have sold out years ago, but he’s not interested in the money – It’s all about the music for him. Jeff Broadway has done a great job of piecing together an excellent documentary charting the rise in popularity of an independent record label, that doesn’t only have great taste, but more importantly, integrity. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for them as they seem to be moving away from hip hop as their staple.
It’s one of the most enjoyable documentaries I’ve watched in a while, and whilst it’s not really my type of music (and my hip hop knowledge is hardly expansive), the music in the film, and on the accompanying CD is great.
Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton is available to buy on Blu-ray and DVD today.