# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Madvillain - Madvillainy

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 11 / 4 / 2004

Madvillain - Madvillainy
Label: Play It Again Sam
Format: CD


"Daring and progressive" debut album from Madvillian, which pushes the hip-hop and electronica genres to new limits

I suppose the point of the underground music scene is to aspire to something more ‘important’ than what is available in the mainstream. What a curious release this is then. Madvillain is a collaboration between two of the most respected names in the underground hip-hop/electronica scene, ace beatmaker Otis Jackson jnr. (aka. Madlib) and Daniel Dumile (aka MF Doom). It has also been hotly anticipated for quite a long time. The rough mixes and early sketches sneaked out into the bootleg/file-sharing community, to a general tone of, “hell, if this is only the rough mix, what on earth will the final album….??!” Well, the finished album has emerged. And it more than justifies the feverish excitement. This is a tour-de-force, a testament to the true possibilities of hip-hop, so often wasted on artists intent on self glorification, gimmicks and safe hitmaking. And yet, it makes no claim of "importance". In fact, it doesn’t even cling to its underground credentials, absorbing the work of the Neptunes and Kanye West, making plenty of knowing nods to the old school hip hop scene, and whilst giving an eye to a future direction, most concerned with making a great album in the present style. This is not to be missed. I am serious. If anyone in the hip-hop or electronica scenes tops this year, then they will have made one hell of a good record. Particularly outstanding is the loose summertime jazz feel of 'Rainbows', which manages to sound genuinely creepy when it switches tack back to the album’s running theme of villains and general nastiness. 'Strange Ways' is the closest track to the mainstream style, sampling an old soul record and some sweet sounds from various violins, but merging it with MF Doom’s most grim verbal images. These two tracks best capture Madvillian’s strongest suit, merging the underground style with jazz and soul, but there is plenty else here to enjoy. It feels like someone’s been shouting out to Madlib, “how are you at nu jazz?? Not bad! What about loose beats? Or a heavy, gangster style?” In fact, Madlib can do it all. There are 22 tracks on this album, but most are very short. 'Madvillainry' has so many hot ideas; it barely has time to flesh them out before busting into something else. The tempo never lets up. This is tuneful, engaging, but daring and progressive all at once. Quite simply, you will rarely hear something this masterful, a near flawless examination of the whole spectrum of music. Just buy it, okay?

Track Listing:-
1 The Illest Villains
2 Accordion
3 Meat Grinder
4 Bistro
5 Raid
6 America's Most Blunted
7 Sickfit (Instrumental)
8 Rainbows
9 Curls
10 Do Not Fire! (Instrumental)
11 Money Folder
12 Shadows Of Tomorrow
13 Operation Lifesaver AKA Mint Test
14 Figaro
15 Hardcore Hustle
16 Strange Ways
17 Fancy Clown
18 Eye
19 Supervillain Theme (Instrumental)
20 All Caps
21 Great Day
22 Rhinestone Cowboy
23 Video All Caps

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