Within the last year, instrumentalist RJD2 has gone from being a complete obscurity to one of the most popular producers of the moment, at least among those keeping a close ear to the underground (and those picking the soundtracks for Saturn ads). Following the runaway success of his smash debut, Dead Ringer, RJD2 does what any artist with a brand new buzz would do; quickly follow it up with a compilation of remixes and b-sides.
While this album doesn’t break any new ground that wasn’t broken on Dead Ringer, it merely expands on the blueprint laid down on that album and takes it a step further. While most b-side / remix compilations are usually not worth the price of admission (Gorillaz’ G-Sides, Coldcut’s Let Us Replay) RJD2′s The Horror will join the select few of these types of releases that actually remain a respectable part of the artist’s catalog (Nas’ The Lost Tapes, Public Enemy’s Greatest Misses & Ice Cube’s Bootlegs & B-Sides).
The new reworking of “Ghostwriter” is everything a remix should be with elements of the original laying the groundwork, but a new set of drums, bass, and effects creating a whole new animal, paying homage to the original version in a celebratory fashion. Same goes for the new reworkings of “June” and “Good Times Roll”, two sequels that don’t necessarily top the originals, but almost demand equal respect, not to mention the Def Jukie powered “Final Frontier (Remix)”, where Murs, Vast Aire, Aesop Rock, and Blueprint define their personalities in each verse. Meanwhile, two almost brand new instrumental ditties “Sell The World” and “Bus Stop Bitties” prove RJ hasn’t missed a step yet, with sprinkled bonus instrumental versions (read: sans rappers) of “Counseling”, “F.H.H.”, and “Final Frontier”, sealing the deal. Put it all together and you’ve got a full album here and damn good one too.
Along with bonus material packed on the enhanced second disc, with The Horror, RJD2 once again comes correct, proving he can almost do no wrong. As perhaps the first producer to come along since the millennium hit to redefine sampling, he makes hip-hop production inspiring again. Way to go RJ, another winner in the bag.
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