There have been rumblings about this Arthur Baker documentary, Planet Rock and Other Tales of the 808, for a while now. And now that the first official trailer is out I’m like schoolboy giddy. The documentary waxes over how the Roland TR-808 changed the musical world starting from its most seminal record, “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force. An Arthur Baker production that was released 30 years ago. There’s no two ways about it, Arthur Baker, both directly and indirectly, launched many careers in music. Rick Rubin and the Beastie Boys to modern-day stars like Kanye, Armand Van Helden and David Guetta. A little factoid for you: Rick Rubin borrowed Baker’s 808 to create iconic records with Run DMC, LL Cool J and the first hip-hop album to top the Billboard chart, Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill. Hell, Madonna and Justin Timberlake, have both used “Planet Rock” in their live shows and the 808 has been name-checked in song by everyone from Beyonce to Britney Spears. Once you wrap you head around that, it’s impossible to not realize the cultural legacy that Arthur Baker and the 808 hold.
Last time I saw Arthur Baker, I said to him ‘What the fuck!? Where’s your 808, man? Bring it back’. Because he was the master, you know. I told him ‘Everybody is copying your sound now man!’ –David Guetta