Monday, January 11, 2010

Blakroc-Not to be slept on.

Recently I've been bored with the state of music, and have been left with a desire to find something new to get into; there's only so many times I can listen to the same songs over and over again (exception, Young Jeezy). However, about two weeks ago I stumbled across the Blackroc project which is headed by hip-hop pioneer Dame Dash, and a former pre-pubescent hero of mine, Jim Jones (Jooooooooooooonessssss) of Diplomats fame. I've always been a fan of Dame Dash, and have respected his work and impact on the music industry, particularly the hip-hop scene, but I was a bit wary of the Blakroc project.

The album pairs Ohio blues-rock band "The Black Keys" (whom I had never heard of until this) and many major players in the rap game, including Mos Def, Pharoe Monch, Ludacris, Q-Tip, Wu members RZA and Raekwon, and a song-stealing posthumous appearance by Ol' Dirty Bastard a.k.a Dirt McGirt a.k.a. Big Baby Jesus a.k.a. Ol Dirty Chinese Restaurant a.k.a. The BZA a.k.a..okay you get the point. After my first listen through, I wasn't really sure how I felt about the album, it sounded a bit like the mash-up between Jay-z and Linkin Park that came out a few years ago, however, Blakroc is much better done and executed much more soundly than the collabo between Hov and Linkin Park.

I immediately dismissed the album as a sound that I couldn't really get into, and almost deleted it from my Itunes, however, something stopped me (perhaps the album cover which looks like a city covered in the Ooze from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2), and I gave it another chance. After a second listen, I was completely blown away and realized the mastery shown by "The Black Keys" and their ability to adapt their sound to a completely different genre, yet maintain their own musical integrity. The Keys lace the tracks with heavy drums, haunting background vocals, and an overall raw sound that matches perfectly with the aforementioned rappers. Even Jim Jones, who has been absolutely terrible of late, provides some coherent verses and is actually listenable, something I was very happy about.

The album is only 11 tracks, and definitely leaves the listener wanting more, but overall it is a solid effort and a great career decision for the post Roc-a-Fella Dame Dash era. So, if you're like me and wanting something new in your music collection check out the Blakroc album, don't sleep.

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