Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton tells the story of a home built for musical misfits. Since its launch in 1996 as the bedroom label of DJ Peanut Butter Wolf, Stones Throw Records has stubbornly refused to be pigeonholed by genre, even while thriving in the world of hip-hop. This 2013 film by director Jeff Broadway makes the case that they have always believed art is more important than album sales.
The documentary keeps its focus narrow, interviewing members of the label’s inner circle alongside superstar fans like Kanye West. Though this community feels laid back and joyful, Stones Throw’s history is marked with loss. Beginning with the death of rapper Charizma, the film’s most intimate scene shows J Dilla onstage in a wheelchair just days before his passing. Watching in 2021, the extended section on MF DOOM also feels like a eulogy.
When the rise of the internet caused a loss in music sales that shuttered many independent labels, Stones Throw survived on their own terms, releasing records from outsiders like Folerio, and making Dam Funk’s debut a 5LP box set. Whether searching for the next Madlib or signing weirdos on a whim, they have never compromised. “In the future I want our records to end up in the $100 bin or the 99 cent bin,” says Peanut Butter Wolf. “I want people to love them or really hate them.”