The highly anticipated collaboration between two of independent hip-hop's finest, Madlib and MF Doom, Madvillainy received rave reviews upon its release and, hindsight being 20/20, they were pretty much right. Stitching together a patchwork of vintage soul, jazz, movie music and who knows what else, Madlib constructs a musical fabric that wraps beautifully around the enigmatic Doom's lazy monotone. Peppered with references to the joys of marijuana (“Spliff made him swore he saw heaven when he was seven”) and boasts of his own surpassing villainy (“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone/ After you who's last, it's Doom, he's the worst known”), Doom's words are often too oblique to make sense of. He strings together barely-connected phrases of half-sense, near-sense and nonsense with a kind of playfulness and joy in the sheer musical possibilities of language that recalls John Ashbery. The cumulative effect is mesmerizing and a little dreamlike, creating a different kind of logic, one with its own particular lucidity — as when Doom, rapping over a beautiful accordion loop played by the electronic music artist Daedelus, casually comes out with: “Slip like Freudian/ Your first and last step to playin'yourself like accordion.”
By Richard Gehr on 11.06.14 in Features
The son of cult members seeks a peaceful future in his music.
By Claire Lobenfeld on 10.07.14 in News
San Francisco electronic-soul purveyor Brogan Bentley is gearing up to release his brooding debut full-length The Snake (November 11, Leaving Records/Stones Throw) and the hypnotic "Smoke" is one of our first tastes of w...
By Nate Patrin on 08.26.14 in Reviews
Ringgo Ancheta is all about balance. As Mndsgn, he's been putting out enigmatic beat tapes for years, smothering loping breaks under a humid atmosphere that accommodate both rust and greenery alike. No wonder he gravitat...
By Nate Patrin on 05.27.14 in Reviews
It's one of the biggest what-ifs in underground hip-hop: What if Charizma, the young, slick MC with the command and bravado of prime LL, hadn't been murdered a week before Christmas '93? Would his production partner, Pea...