When I was a kid I loved ransom notes made out of letters and words of various fonts. I loved cutting up magazines and making collages out of existing materials. I loved the feel of the pieces in my hands, getting glue on my fingertips, and best of all finding that one little printed fragment that could fill the open space and perfectly mesh with everything around it. It felt so perfect, even if a lot of people would look at the same paper and see madness.
Today, nobody buys magazines. Most people don’t even buy CDs or albums
with cover art. Even portraits and pictures and books are transmitted as aseries of numbers over the ether. Music and art become less tactile every day.
Madlib is the guy Kanye West would be if West had less money to pay on samples, and maybe was afflicted with Attention
Deficit Disorder. He speeds up verses and voices, he uses short cuts and splices–dozens of them–layered on top of each other to create dense walls of music that few rappers can break through. As I write this, I’m listening to “Birds.” It’s an obvious reference to the drug trade, but in the background there’s a chorus chanting “Move ’em out! Move ’em out!” over and over, but they’re sped up so they sound
Any album with MF DOOM is one worth checking out, and his laid back, free-associative style fits perfectly with the rest of this album. He always works well with Madlib. Blu and MED do a great job, too. And check out some of the other guests: Phonte (of Little Brother), British soul-rapper Aloe Blacc, Mayer Hawthorne…The list goes on and on. But this feels like a band, not a few guys who just got together to make an album.
I’m not going to say that “Bad Neighbor” is brilliant, or the best album ever, but damn is it a trip to listen to.