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by Marlon Regis
6 August, 2003@12:00 am
0 comments

This record to the listener, if sober or sane, at first will seem really chaotic with its dusty, vinyl-static sound purposely filtered in the background. And then, asking yourself if this debut from Dudley Perkins (part of the crew the hip hop world grew to love through groups such as Lootpack, Quasimoto, & Oh No) should be categorized as hip hop or some brand of neo-soul, you might just come to the conclusion that it’s a mixture of both. Or, is it simply someone just messing around freely in a recording studio, probably not knowing the ‘record’ button had been pushed? The highlight of this LP is what supports Dudley Perkins, and his name is Madlib. The underlying truth is indeed these Madlib-produced beats of jazzy fusion. On the opener, “Momma” where Dudley sings repetitious lines of dedication to his mother, you can’t ever dare to describe this as something touching or sentimental. It may be considered cute, but most would find it hard to honor this sort of free-spirited, prank-like song to bring an anticipated blush from one’s mother. But then again, Madlib’s production might persuade her to bop her head.

At a glance, this sort of seemingly lackadaisical approach to constructing an album may receive harsh criticism. After all, Dudley seems to just step up to the mic in one take at the studio, supposedly after a few blunts and sips of brew of course, and then begins to sing or rap or scat whatever he soulfully pleases. The truth is, without the majority of Madlib’s excellent blazes of hip hop jazz, you’re probably not going to be convinced to take in the rest of Dudley’s whimsical, unfinished, practice-session sounding tracks such as “The Light”, “Muzak” and “Gotta Go” featuring Yesterday’s New Quintet. But remember “Flowers”, that underground odd soulful twist that even British DJ Gilles Peterson featured on his Worldwide mix CD (Talkin Loud)? Similarly, up comes Dudley’s single, “Money,” his conscious message about the root of all evil. He actually seems to make some sense in this similar underground banger. Sounding more like a jovial pimp, full of intoxicated melodic tones and sudden turns of humor that may either annoy or entertain you, this cut tries to save this album. But realistically, the entire album might be best played in its instrumental state, which is also available. But if you must endure Dudley Perkins throughout this showcase of disturbing vocal styles, you may want to get high as a kite or drunk like a fish, then listen. You can’t give your full attention to the confusion within this release. Something has to be altered in your mind. Only then, you could fully enjoy the effects this sort of loose, carefree and unformatted style from Dudley. Putting out a record like this, is sort of like a stand-up comic giving the crowd an inside joke that only he and his immediate friends can understand. We just ain’t getting it Dudley!

On “Falling”, Dudley just sort of preaches righteousness and tries to inject self-esteem to his listeners. He appears very sober and actually serious for a change, something he does well on others such as “Solitude” and “Lil’ Black Boy” also, on the latter, injecting some self-reality to those black youths unaware of what society is going to deal them. As usual, Madlib scores again with the right vinyl textures he samples, exciting all crate diggers, far and near. The album overall though, lacks exactly what these few tracks exert – time consuming, artistic effort with some type of focus. It more or less gives you the impression that anyone can make this sort of music, and to make matters worse, anyone (without Madlib of course) can make this sort of record in the shortest timeframe given.

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