Saturday, March 13, 2010

Madlib Medicine Show #1 - Before the Verdict

by Madlib, with Guilty Simpson

Each month this year, Madlib is going to be releasing a new cd (and/or vinyl, if that's your thing) under the aegis of the Madlib Medicine Show. This is in addition to his other releases, which seem quite prolific this year (I think I've already bought two other Madlib projects in 2010).

This release is mostly a remix project featuring Guilty Simpson. Most of the vocals are taken off of Simpson's 2008 album 'Ode to the Ghetto', although there are a few new tracks tossed in (perhaps previews of the upcoming OJ Simpson album, which is a Madlib/Simpson collaboration project). 'Ode' was a decent enough album, although a little monotonous, mostly notable for the strength of the producers it assembled - Oh No, Mr. Porter, Black Milk, Dilla, and Madlib himself.

The largest problem I have with any Guilty Simpson project is that he's kind of a boring rapper. I like him best when he only shows up on a song for 8 or 16 bars, but the effect of listening to him for an extended period of time is a little deadening. Madlib's beats are quite nice on this - he's taking a very stripped down, raw approach to hip-hop here, but the vocals never elevate the material to the level they should. You know you're in trouble when a guest appearance by MED becomes notable.

I do like the remix of the Dilla-produced 'I Must Love You', which wisely removes the sung chorus of the original, and showcases some of Simpson's best rapping.

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