25 February, 2011@1:32 pm
The 11th edition of Madlib’s Medicine Show series boasts an initially daunting 28 tracks, but at just over an hour long; the album is an almost perfect creative blend of beats & rhymes, jazz laced instrumentals and comedic interludes. Don’t be surprised if you’re compelled to run it back in its entirety.
The whole thing plays out like a day in the life; all the while redefining the term “mixtape”. Imagine one morning you recorded every song you played, every conversation you overheard, everything that went through your mind and every clip you absorbed on television; only to play it back the next day. On a trip through Madlib’s mind, you encounter a brew of styles influenced by a variety of genres. This is a mix in its truest form; cuts, breaks, and a host of emcees.
If you’re into Oxnard Green’s abstract and sometimes psychedelic production coupled with hard verses, this project is for you. While Loop Digga instrumentals are sprinkled throughout, it is the lyrics that reach for, grab and hook you with their urban sensibilities. Low Budget High Fi Music has a familiar feel, with most of the usual Stones Throw suspects gracing the mic. Strong Arm Steady, Guilty Simpson and MED hit the mark, and keep the listener from zoning out to what could otherwise be classified as smoker music. Equally as engaging are appearances by Oh No and Madlib as The Professionals, Karriem Riggins (also with Madlib as the Supreme Team), Frank Nitt, A.G. and Talib Kweli.
All of the standouts feature MCs, and their distinct voices and flows take center stage around the Oxnard native’s soundtrack. Early in the mix, the introspective “Thoughts On An Old Flame” shows a softer side of Guilty Simpson, as he tells a tale that could prelude Nas’ “Black Girl Lost”. The never released Jaylib track “Louder (Blast Your Radio)” evokes nostalgia and reaffirms Madlib as a triple threat; on the wheels, production and the microphone.
About halfway through we hit the electrifying energy of “Stageridin’”, and Frank Nitt rides heavy 808s and smooth sampled loops with a steady ferocity, not missing a beat through tricky transitions. As the Supreme Team, multi-talented musician Karriem Riggins shines on “Interview #4080”, where snippets are inserted interview-style over fat horns, along with ‘Riem alternately asking and answering hustle defining questions. Toward the end of the run, Med and Poke’s “Cheaters” will suck you back in; as they delve into the world of creeping over a soul driven groove.
All in all, Madlib maintains Loop Digga and Beat Konducta status on this one, presenting an ideal mix of his DJing, producing and MCing. His cohesive eclecticism is sure to keep you entertained for the duration of the project. This is head phone music at its best, and in line with the “High Fi” theme one can argue that we experience a full spectrum of frequencies with no distortion.
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