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11 Of The Most Revealing Music Documentaries Of All Time

Enlightening, sometimes tragic behind-the-scenes stories.

This year’s shocking Framing Britney Spears joined a tradition music documentaries that illuminate much more than a surface look at their subjects. From Lil Wayne to Madonna, these 11 music documentaries are some of the most revealing of all time.

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The Carter (Lil Wayne, 2009)

An in-depth look at one of the greatest rappers of all time, The Carter was eventually disavowed by Wayne himself, despite the unprecedented access he gave filmmakers. The doc shows Wayne giving interviews, discussing his upbringing, and rapping during his most prolific period.

IMDB

Framing Britney Spears (2021)

The New York Times’ investigation into Britney Spears’ 13-year conservatorship blew the lid off her case, leading to her father stepping down from controlling Spears’ life. It also gave a revealing look into the toxic culture that engulfed Spears at the height of her career. (Hulu)

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Amy (2015)

Compelling and sad, Amy shows an artist grappling with the effects of fame and addiction, eventually ending in tragedy. (Hulu)

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Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry (2021)

What happens when a sensitive teenager becomes a global phenomenon? Billie Eilish’s illuminating documentary explores that question, often coming to uncomfortable conclusions about the effects of fame on its young star. (Apple TV+)

Youtube

Nicki Minaj: My Time Now (2010)

A look at Nicki’s life as she prepared for the momentous release of her first album, Pink Friday. (Youtube)

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Madonna: Truth Or Dare (1991)

This groundbreaking Madonna documentary by filmmaker Alek Keishishian follows the superstar during her 1990 Blond Ambition Tour and reveals a tumultuous backstage life, including a near police arrest and an emotional visit to her mother’s grave. (Prime Video)

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Whitney (2018)

It was controversial upon release, but 2018's Whitney is arguably still the definitive look at the superstar’s unbelievable career trajectory, tragic downfall, and complicated yet celebrated legacy she left behind. (Prime Video)

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Leaving Neverland (2019)

Wade Robson and James Safechuck tell their stories of being sexually abused by Michael Jackson in this bombshell two-part 2019 documentary. Difficult to watch at times, it prompted the question: “Is it possible to separate art from the artist?” (HBO)

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Surviving R. Kelly (2019-2020)

This award-winning multi-series documentary details the sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelly through the voices of the survivors and their families. The cultural phenomenon eventually led to Kelly’s conviction. (Lifetime)

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Miss Americana (2020)

Miss Americana is an intimate look into Taylor Swift’s life as she reflects on the course of her career while working on her 2019 album, Lover. She opens up for the first time about difficult subjects including mental health, eating disorders, the pressures of fame, and more. (Netflix)

YouTube Originals

Demi Lovato: Dancing With The Devil (2021)

This is a four-part documentary that goes into the immediate aftermath of the star’s 2018 overdose, her recovery period, and the eventual creation of the titular 2021 album. It can be a hard watch at times as Lovato unflinchingly reflects on her near-fatal journey. (YouTube)