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There's a mellifluous, melodic feel to RJD2's production on Deadringer that enables him to easily straddle the US/European divide between hip-hop and trip hop, even coming close to the intricate and lucid inventiveness of the Avalanches in places.
Ohio's RJD2 first dropped his wholesome brand of bumpin' beats on Bobbito's Fondle 'Em Records (as producer for MegaHertz), before appearing later on labels such as Rawkus and Def Jux. It's the latter label that has decided to support his talents full-time, and judging by this debut solo joint, it's a very good decision.
Keeping his musical references as wide as possible while retaining a distinctly b-boy soul, RDJ2 casually bunches together disparate sounds and styles--funk, hip-hop, soul, jazz, reggae, blues, industrial grunge, acoustic folk, indie rock--into a fibrous and free-wheeling whole. There's straight up hip-hop for the heads on "Final Frontier", "F.H.H." and "June" (where he teams up with MCs Blueprint, Jakki da Motamouth and Copewrite respectively) but Deadringer is mostly about the producer's experiments with cinematic beatscapes, funny funksters and down-tempo nods, all approached with a twinge of oddness and some deliciously flippant humour. --Paul Sullivan
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The album starts off with a very powerful track called 'The Horror', then goes onto a very chilled out song called 'smoke and mirrors'. Both songs are awesome. There are all types of songs on this album, some are very hip-hoppy such as 'Final Frontier', and there are many instrumental songs such as 'Ghostwriter' which blows you away with the use of the horns, which just mixes so nicely with the relaxing strumming. One of my favourite songs on the album has to be 'let the good times roll pt. 2'. It is such a chilled out song with such a mix of music styles. My favourite is the end of the song though, in the middle there is a break and you get some drumming and scratching, but at the end the genious that is RJD2 brings it altogether. The first time i heard it and even to this day i cant stop smiling because it just is absolutely amazing that one person can make a piece of music this good.
I would definately recommend this album or anything that RJD2 has done/ worked on to absolutely anyone because you can guarantee that it will be amazing. If you like DJ shadow then you will definately love this because its quite similar, and where sometimes shadow can get quite deep and sometimes depressing, RJD2 is very upbeat and chilled.
Overall this is a great album and you will just have to go out and buy it because its very hard to say what is good about it as there is so much to talk about.
Anyway i hope you found this review helpfull and you go out and buy this record. Enjoy!
So thats out the way. What it IS, however, is a pretty damn wicked album. Its lighter in tone than the likes of Endtroducing, more humourous, funky in a Deltron 3030 stylee. You won't find a better sample driven hip hop album (OUTSTANDING efforts in the form of Ghostwriter, Chicken-Bone Circuit, The Horror). You get a few tracks with MCs thrown into the mix too, and they've very well done, FHH with its 'anti-generic hip hop' stance, backed up a nicely programmed loop in the background, the way the ooohs and aaahs shift around in the main chorus. You won't find any of your bling style lyrics on here, inventive stuff.
So give Rjd2 a chance, it fills the gap when you need some more lighthearted moods (losing none of the grit naturally). As I said earlier you won't find a better sample driven hip hop album! Its not some form of a pale imitation of Mr Shadow, thank the lord, it cuts it own groove. If you're looking for something a little more vocal, perhaps check Deltron 3030, or if you want to keep things British, DJ Stix's 2nd Nature shows that we're not bad at creating this kinda sound either!
I would reccomend this CD to anyone with even a passing intrest in hip-hop, trip-hop, jazz or just plain good beats that make you want to move!
This is a seriously good example of what Hip-Hop can, and in many cases should, be. Mixing soul, jazz, traditional beats, rhymes, and a few more 'rocky' vocals, RJD2 has managed to marry brass bands with old school MC'ing, lounge style soundscapes with crashing beats and satisfying bass lines.
What I don't understand is why this hasn't been more successful. It sold out very quickly in said record shop but no one else I know has even heard of it.
I really think this is different from the majority of what is listened to. As the work of a producer you think, perhaps, it should have less acclaim than, say, The Roots. However, to look at DJ Shadow and not this, is a travesty. This is more tuneful, there is more variety, and its more accessible than any of Mr Shadow's offerings (which, incidentally, I enjoy immensely).
Obviously, it would be difficult to say its better but is it equal? Without doubt: this is a new direction for Hip-Hop production and its here to stay. I just hope RJD2 gets the plaudits he deserves.
Much more fun and uptempo than Shadow's stuff, this album also features some of the finest and most intelligent rap tunes you'll hear.
Head nodding stuff from beginning to end - undoubtedly in the top five of the year.
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