(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Madvillainy (2004), 7/10
Pinata (2014), 5/10

Madvillain was a collaboration between New York-based rapper Daniel "MF Doom" Dumile (ex-KMD) and Los Angeles-based producer Otis "Madlib" Jackson (the son of a bluesman and a folksinger, and the nephew of jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis), who had already experimented with the collage technique as the one-man band Yesterday's New Quintet (fictitiously described as a "quintet") on Angels Without Edges (Stones Throw, 2001), building songs (mostly smooth soul-jazz-funk instrumental ballads) out of microscopic fragments of keyboards, guitar, sax, vibraphone, drums and bass (not samples, but his own creations).

Their collaboration yielded one of the most publicized albums in the history of hip-hop music, Madvillainy (Stones Throw, 2004), and its companion Madvillainy Instrumentals (2004). While every magazine bragged about it, very few reviews could explain what the excitement was all about. Madlib's sophisticated beat-art and orchestration made it an impressive tour de force of production techniques, but it was a far cry from the purported masterpiece of hip-hop. Fragmented into 22 brief vignettes, it was both a stylistic phantasmagoria and a cartoonish concept album.

Madlib's solo career, mostly obsessed with the legacy of jazz, had been fairly intense, comprising: Lootpack's Soundpieces: Tha Antidote (1999) and its companion Soundpieces: Da Instrumentals (1999), Quasimoto's The Unseen (2000), possibly his artistic zenith, and its companion The Unseen Instrumentals (2000), Yesterdays New Quintet's Angles Without Edges (2001), a close second, the disappointing Jaylib's Champion Sound (2003) and its companion Champion Sound Instrumentals (2003), a collaboration with J Dilla that was reissed as the double-CD Champion Sound Reissue (Stones Throw, 2007), Sound Directions' The Funky Side Of Life (Stones Throw, 2005), a live band devoted to early 1970s funk and soul covers, and Madlib's personal revision of the Blue Note catalog, Shades of Blue (2003). Quasimoto was resurrected for The Further Adventures of Lord Quas (Stones Throw, 2005), another demented collage of genres and another cartoonish saga.

London-born hoarse rapper Daniel Dumile started out as Zev Love, the mastermind of KMD, whose Mr Hood (1991) and Bl_ck B_st_rds (1993), released only in 2000, were militant Islamic pamphlets. After a long hiatus, Dumile assumed two new personas that released MF Doom's Operation: Doomsday (1999) and the mediocre MM_ Food (2004), as well as Viktor Vaughan's Vaudeville Villain (2003) and Venomous Villain (2004).

MF Doom lent his rapping skills to Dangerdoom's The Mouse And The Mask (2005), a collaboration with producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton, better known for mixing together vocals and beats from Jay Z's Black Album snippets from the Beatles' White Album to create his Grey Album (2004).

Madlib's The Beat Konducta Vol. 1-2 (Stones Throw, 2006) contains 35 hip-hop instrumental audio collages crafted with turntables, samplers and drum machines. Beat Konducta Vol. 3-4 (Stones Throw, 2007) targeted Bollywood film music. Madlib's King Of The Wigflip (Rapster, 2008) is a collage of samples (both ordinary found sounds and snippets of music).

Daniel Dumile dropped MF from his "nome de guerre" for Born Like This (2009), a faithful recreation of his sound (better as a rapper than as a producer).

Unexpected Guests (2009) is a compilation of rarities.

Madlib and J-Rocc released Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6: Dil Cosby / Dil Withers Suite (Stones Throw, 2009), a tribute album to the late J Dilla.

Madlib's Speto Da Rua: Dirty Brasilian Crates Vol. 1 (Mochilla, 2009) is a mix of Brazilian music.

Madlib Medicine Show (2011) was a series of monthly mixtapes.

Jneiro Jarel produced and probably architected Daniel "MF Doom" Dumile's Key To The Kuffs (Lex, 2012), appropriately credited to JJ Doom. The negligible cameos of Damon Albarn (Blur/Gorillaz) and Beth Gibbons (Portishead) helped publicize the album but the only interest lies in Jarel's demented collages.

Madlib produced Georgia Anne Muldrow's Seeds (2012) in its entirety.

A collaboration with Indiana's gangster rapper Freddie Gibbs yielded three EPs: Thuggin' (2011), Shame (2012) and Deeper (2013). These were followed by the full-length Pinata (Madlib Invazion, 2014). Madlib's sprinkled production barely mattered, and the duo had to engage a plethora of guests (Ab-Soul, BJ the Chicago Kid, Danny Brown, Domo Genesis, Mac Miller, Raekwon, Scarface, Earl Sweatshirt) to lift Gibbs' storytelling from monotony.

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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