Review - Shades of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note

Artist: Madlib

Though the yawn induced by "hip-hop producer raiding Blue Note crates" could have caught flies, this ain't no 50th-generation "Jazzmatazz." Prodigiously talented Madlib stands head and shoulders above most other hip-hop DJs, due both to his innate ability and his freaky prolificness (see: Lootpack, Yesterday's New Quintet, Planet Asia, Dilated Peoples, Quasimoto ...), and it shows on this disc. Expectedly funky (and unfortunately burdened with phoned-in shout-outs from the original players), it's a pretty laid-back affair in which Madlib deftly reweaves disparate instrumental strands from the master tapes, rather than simply adding a rapper to a break and a bassline. And it's about as innovative as anyone could hope to be with this tired idea.

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