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"Champion Sound"
by: Sun-J

Stones Throw, underground's most underrated record label, presents a dream collaboration. One of those combos that can only be imagined through a curious post from a hopeful underground back packer. Hip-hop Detroit prince, Jay Dee AKA Jay Dilla teams up with L.A.'s own Otis Jackson Jr. AKA Madlib AKA Quasimoto (when he is in emcee mode) to produce exactly what you expect; one of the most far out produced records of this century. For you Jay Dee fans, expect nothing close to the Slum Village sound, and for your Madlib followers, as usual, expect nothing and prepare for anything. The characteristics of each producer are found on the LP. Jay Dee's synthesized crisp percussion is eminent as is Madlib's genuine, futuristic, albeit neosoul jazz-fusion. Already swamped with projects, it's a wonder how Madlib found time to shell out for this project after completing the Blue Note catalogue remix album, and tackling the Trojan's reggae catalogue remix LP. Counteracting though, in my humble opinion, it honestly seems a much larger task for Dilla to cater to Madlib's unorthodox, retarded Mike Tyson vocal delivery.

After the clich?? opening of "L.A. Detroit," the duo get to business with raucous "McNasty Filth." As the name implies, the track boasts a gritty heartbeat with dirty baselines and a moody drum thumps. "Nowadayz" is a lyrically enticing track about striking a balance between life and love with snappy strings, asian vocals, and b-boy delivered verbiage. The title track, "Champion Sound," garnered heavy anticipation prior to the release of the album with its distorted Indian vocal sound, and queued up snares. "The Red," produced by Jay Dee, formulates from a monumental kick drum and a riveting piano line with an operatic chorus. Dilla does a superb job with production as Madlib's irregular cadence is balanced with scratchy synths. "Raw Shit," is relentless organ buffers and digitized baselines fueled by the lyrical prowess of Talib Kweli. "The Official," features expedited sampling and revamped soul-styling while the Madlib produced, "The Mission," has a funky, piano break beat with looped strings. "React," is Jay Dee's standout production wise with its radical sitar and bumbling drum line. "Strapped," is menacing with its eastern strings and features the vocal styling of man-child Guilty Simpson, who rips into the drums with bars like, "I sit on the end at the movies and let my feet stick out, any dude with a problem get his teeth chipped out."

The manifestation of the two respected producers yields quite an album. The sounds are bizarre, funky, and at times irritable; but for the most part, Dilla and Madlib compliment each other satisfactorily. Lyrically the album does little to cover new ground with its talks of smoking grass, fine females and long bank accounts. A key point to not overlook is the executive production done by Peanut Butter Wolf. Had he not been in the lab overlooking the progression, I doubt the album would have been able to flow as a whole. As it stands, the only emcee that seemed capable enough to ride the spaced out sounds of the duo was rap veteran Percee Pee. Nonetheless, the LP is groundbreaking and will satisfy the promise.



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