5 May, 2005@12:00 am
Longtime heads know the name Madlib from his classic production on Tha Alkaholiks’ seminal debut album, 21 & Over, on songs such as “Mary Jane” (the more things change, the more they stay the same). He later solidified his name as a producer as a member of The Lootpack, with one incredible debut album, Soundpieces: The Antidote. But little did heads in the 90′s know that by the turn of the millennium, Madlib would be known for much more than his production for the Likwit Crew. Recording under several different aliases, Madlib has released jazz albums under the Yesterday’s New Quintet moniker, collaborative albums with MF Doom and Jay Dilla, and of course, his shared a split personality with the almighty Lord Quasimoto.
Just who is this Quasimoto anyway? Quasimoto is sort of like Madlib’s evil twin, if you will; one that only shows his face when good weed and deep crates are present. His music is slightly different than Madlib’s, as he curiously sounds like Madlib after inhaling a balloon full of helium (or something else), and his song structure defines the word “experimental”, abandoning the rules of conventional hip-hop production, pasting odd samples in even odder places. While he did appear on the Lootpack’s Soundpieces LP, Lord Quas officially made his name known a few years ago with his debut solo offering, The Unseen, on Stones Throw Records. Quasimoto shows his face again in 2005, with the long-awaited sequel, The Further Adventures Of Lord Quas.
It should be noted upon reading this review of Quas’ new album that there are two ways to listen to the album 1) normally or B) high out of your mind (recommended!). It should also be noted that this critic stopped fuckin’ with weed and other substances a few years ago, in the interest of running a successful business. With that said, here is: The Clean And Sober Interpretation Of The Further Adventures Of Lord Quas: An Essay By Pizzo. Ahem…..
Perhaps it won’t do the album justice to listen to it without the influence of weed or sizzurup (you know the Texas fans will demand a chopped and screwed version), since promotional rolling papers were given out and many of the songs on the album are about wacky tobacky (“Greenery”) and other fine substances (“Shroom Music”). However, from the sheer perspective of how deep Madlib has dug for the album, fellow crate diggers will appreciate this album high or dry. Among the typically raw crate-dug production, the sheer abundance of strange vocal samples inserted in or in-between songs gives the album a personality and sense of humor not seen elsewhere (“my baby, she’s a dirty dog and she know iiiiiiit” and “Fuuuuuuunnnnnyyyyy!” are two classic moments that come to mind).
Like The Unseen, The Further Adventures of Lord Quas is an acquired taste. Some heads (perhaps this lame smokefree critic included) will just not be able to grab onto the albums’ strange, disjointed song structure, off beat rhymes, and chipmunked vocals. Still, at 26 tracks in the length, there are many stand out moments, among the array of 2 and 3 minute songs. The album’s strongest cut comes in the form of it’s most conventional one, “Rap Cats Pt. 3″, where Madlib (non-Quas mode) name drops some fifty of his favorite hip-hop artists, over a wicked funk sample probably derived from Egon’s archives. The MF Doom influenced “Bartender Say” is reminiscent of the classic Operation Doomsday sound, while the Doom featured “Closer” trades it for the dustier Madvillain style. “Another Demo Tape” is a brutally honest rant from Madlib (again, non-Quas mode) about throwing unsigned rap demos in the trash, over eerie strings plus words-of-wisdom from a random Jamaican soulstress. “The Exclusive” featuring M.E.D. also stands out thanks to it’s creative “one love” vocal flip and hypnotic loop, and also notable is the new interpretation of Show and AG’s “Fat Pockets” on “Fat Backs”, now re-imagined to profess love for the booty.
By no coincidence, the strongest cuts on this record are the ones that push the high-voiced Quasimoto out of the spotlight, instead featuring Madlib just as himself. Nothing can be taken away from the deep creativity of The Further Adventures Of Lord Quas, but in brutal honesty, the Quasimoto cartoon character gimmick wears thin quickly, especially considering Madlib’s own unaltered vocal chops sound much doper. Now if we could just get a Madlib solo rap record……
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