Tuesday, August 09, 2005

album review! dangerdoom: the mouse and the mask.

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when i heard that mf doom, my favorite rapper (sorry, hov), would be collaborating with last year's most talked about producer, danger mouse, it's safe to say that my anticipation-level for the project gave me a boner. i mean, the grey album was a great project in concept, but only average in execution (danger did "my first song" in the wrong time signature, and "dirt off your shoulder" was a wholeheartedly shitty beat). i had the feeling that he would redeem himself when given the proper oppurtunity. my only reservation with the album was that it was going to be completely co-opted by cartoon network's adult swim. i suppose i am an indie-snob, but admittedly, adult swim has the best animated programing since beavis and butthead (which is so idiotic, it borders on genius). the result? the only hip-hop album i've loved this year (common's joint was okay, but it lacked replay value). unless mf doom and ghostface comes out with their collaboration by the end of the year, this will be really the only hip-hop album worth having. here's a track-by-track assessment:

numero uno: "el chupa nibre"--
the album starts off with a funny little satire: brak, being prompted by zorak, saying, "why did you buy this album? i don't know why you did, you're stupid." joke's on you, brak; i downloaded it. everyone hates a smart-ass. then, when the beat, an eerie cartoon (predictable, ain't it?) sample, mf doom immediately kicks into high gear, calling himself "a mix between superfly snuka and a super ho". a decidedly faster beat than doom usually raps over, but he rides the beat like butter over hot popcorn.

numero dos: "sofa king"--
why mf doom is my favorite rapper: reason 23575: "back when the mask was brand spanking new; before it got rusted from drankin' all the brew." this track also features the best skit on the album, the part where the people are saying, "i am sofa king wee tah dead." i fell for that trick in seventh grade, but it's a joke that never gets old.

numero tres: "the mask (featuring ghostface killah)"--
i really hate to say this song is average, because it features my two favorite rappers. however, i have an obligation to do what they call "keeping it real". the wordplay, the beat? average. although mr. starks did his best to fit the whole superhero theme of the song (ghostface does have that whole superhero theme, doesn't he? ironman was the title of his first album, and his nickname is tony starks, ironman's alter-ego, for you non-rap heads), this track is the only average song on the album. the best part of this song is brak's freestyle at the end. "then, we eat a big lunch, and we all take naps." genius.

numero quatro: "perfect hair"--
a good, yet entirely too short track. doom says nothing really memorable here, and his verse is barely a minute long. danger mouse's beat is pretty sick, though. another call from master shake. doom, please change your number.

numero cinco: "benzi box (featuring cee-lo)"--
when you hear the buzzing synths, casio-sounding piano, and west coast beat, you can't help but think this is circled in the "this doesn't belong here" category. "rap these days is like a pain up in the neck... take two of these and don't phone me on the late-night." my sentiments exactly.

numero seis: "old school (featuring talib kweli)"--
"rhymes stronger than popeye with the spinach out; gangsta like a frog or courageous cat and minute mouse." talib sprints from the gate. when he says, "cartoons seem realer than reality to me," he hits the nail on the head. doom comes in and makes a no-bullshit assessment of the rap game, but is basically repeating what kweli just said. not saying that it's bad or anything. "what kind of chittlins is that?"

numero siete: "a.t.h.f."--
starts out with meatwad "rhyming for money", and carl hillariously noting the absence of all of the instruments that white people like. mf doom flips a very fucking awesome character analysis of every main character on aqua teen hunger force. sadly, m.c. pee pants was omitted. master shake calls again. did he not hear the shout out? goddamn, some people are never satisfied.

numero ocho: "basket case"--
"ladies and gentlemen, we all lived through the seventies," the track starts out. *raises hand* i wasn't even concieved until late 1982. great beat, good lyrics. nothing worth quoting.

numero nueve: "no names (black debbie)"--
"not in a bad way; it's just to tell her apart, because she's... black." omg. one of the standout tracks on the album. the bassline is the most memorable on the album, and it rides a sinister sample to make one of the upper-echelon beats i've heard all year. reason number 23576 why mf doom is my favorite rapper: "they raps ain't got no gift like a lonely christmas." genius. "get chased by the sandman on some apollo shit." fucking brilliant. showtime at the apollo, white people. i grew up on that show. the dialogue at the end of the song is top-tier, as well. "eastsiiide..."

numero diez: "crosshairs"--
a mellow, bluesy guitar highlighted by a string section anchors this beat. no standout one-liners by doom; danger definitely saves this track.

numero once: "mince meat"--
the drums are too.. something. not sure what i think about them. the best part about this song is when the cartoon villian plays hype-man everytime doom says, "i'll make mince meat out of that beat mouse"..

numero doce: "vats of urine"--
"drink up, bitches! taste our liquid gold!" indeed, doom, gats are boring. the jazzy sample is definitely the highlight of this track.

numero trece: "space hos"--
the very first beef record about a cartoon character. i suppose doom's a zorak fan. nice shoutout to madlib, too. the best part of this track is the end, where space ghost sarcastically dismantles doom in one sentence: "america's craving some doom, here you go."

numero catorce: "bada bing"--
this track ends the album on a high note. amazing sample, beat and lyrics. doom is on par with his lyrics: "and tell him take a gold shower for fakin' funk, soul power." "and go 'bada bing bing bing' like ricochet rabbit." "real recognize real; on the microphone with wheels of mechanized steel; please, at least respect your ideals." meatwad busts another freestyle [editor's note: not a freestyle; it's doom's verse from "beef rapp". i found this out yesterday, and then recieved a comment. sorry.], this time, acapella, and also caps carl in the process, thus instantaneously making him the most gangsta rapper to ever live.

summary: mf doom is my favorite rapper, and for good reason. although the lyrics are below the unbelieveably brilliant standards he set with madvillain and mm, food, mf doom always remains a step ahead of most lyricists with his superior knack for wit. danger mouse has created some of the best beats of his career for this album. while doom's lyrics were hit or miss, danger mouse delivered every single time. my bet is this will be the hip-hop record of the year. if not, it's without a doubt the best-produced. "why's everybody always pickin' on danger?"


Blogger Chris said...

nice review, man! i agree, it's no madvillainy, but it's still the hip hop album of the year.

6:53 AM  
Blogger Jay Smooth said...

That's no freestyle at the end, Meatwad was reciting doom's verse from "Beef Rap"!

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nicely written! the álbum is awsome!

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought talib said "cartoon seems realer than reality TV".

but what do I know

6:53 AM  

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