Deep Puddle Dynamics
The Taste of Rain...Why Kneel


5.0
classic

Review

by Joe Costa USER (34 Reviews)
December 25th, 2006 | 98 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The best hip-hop album of all time, and unfortunately one that will never make it very far out of the underground.

For the undeveloped and uncultured listener, hip-hop is generally a love-it-or-hate-it genre. Sure, mainstream hip-hop is arguably one of the most popular genres out there at the moment, with only radio-ready pop-rock putting up any sort of real competition, but for all of the eight year olds (or sixteen year olds if you live in a ghetto such as, oh I dunno, sunny Boynton Beach, Florida!) having after school rap battles and blasting 50 Cent and Eminem at their mothers each time they are told to clean their room, there are just as many xenophobic eight year olds who are too busy throwing up the devil horns at Green Day concerts to bother giving anything aside from angst-y pop-punk a chance. But with an open mind, even to the most xenophobic listener, there are a few hip-hop records that could easily make converts out of just about everyone due to their undeniable quality and accessibility.

One of these is the debut record from Deep Puddle Dynamics, the veritable hip-hop super group featuring Sole, Slug (of Atmosphere), Dose One, and Alias. The Taste of Rain…Why Kneel was released on the Anticon hip-hop collective, which was actually founded by Sole, in 2002. The Taste of Rain is not just any ordinary hip-hop album, its arguably the best hip-hop album of all time, and a masterpiece at that. Contrary to the popular misconception that most hip-hop utilizes no traditional instruments, the production on The Taste of Rain utilizes samples of just about every traditional instrument you can think of. Horns appear on Where the Wild Things Are. Violins, cellos, and violas are abound on June 26, 1998, while pianos and acoustics drive the melody behind Deep Puddle Theme Song, putting to rest the stereotypical and myopic production that plagues modern hip-hop.

Like most underground hip-hop, the production is raw and stripped down as opposed to being glossy and bass heavy like more mainstream hip-hop. But instead of the production hindering the album, it gives it character and allows the 4 emcee’s to shine through brilliantly (more on that later). The percussion sounds more like it was recorded live than programmed, which gives the music a more organic quality than is seen on other underground hip-hop albums, including Deltron 3030 and other cult favorites of the genre. Many of the other aforementioned samples also give The Taste of Rain a beautiful atmosphere. Whether it’s the dark and dreary sound found on Thought vs. Action, to the Eastern-tinged melodies of June 26, 1998: A. Slight or the up-beat, almost mechanical stomp of the aforementioned Where the Wild Things Are, every song on the album creates an atmosphere of some sort, and all do so successfully.

While many might consider it a gimmick, all four emcees give outstanding performances on this album, both in delivery and in lyrics. Slug and Alias are the two standouts, Slug adopting a more rapid-fire style of delivery that compliments his sarcastic and humorous lyrics well, while Alias is as strong as ever, still utilizing his signature off-beat delivery to juxtapose the wit and intelligence in his lyrics. The two act as each other’s foil, especially on tracks like Heavy Ceiling where both their delivery and lyrics interplay in a wonderfully fun manner.

While slightly less impressive than Alias and Slug, Sole and Dose One both stand up well on their own. The only factor that hinders Dose One is his voice which, although it is very unique, tends to grate a bit on the first listen and is only alleviated by continued listening. Sole tends to fall under the category of being too generic for his own good, sometimes almost trying too hard to sound like Alias while still fighting to establish his own identity. Lyrically, both Sole and Dose One are on par with Alias and Slug while discussing most of the same themes that are standard fare in hip-hop (personal battles, other intellectual malarkey).

What is the most impressive aspect of The Taste of Rain is how well the album flows. For clocking in at almost an hour and ten minutes, it seems surprisingly shorter. The track arrangement is second to none, which is one of the reasons that this album has such an excellent replay value. In writing this review, I’ve listened to the album roughly three times in less than 24 hours, which is quite a feat as I can never seem to listen to the same album as many times in a row as I have with this one and not get bored of it. Now consider that I’ve been listening to this album since last fall and still can rarely find a time when I don’t enjoy it.

In short, The Taste of Rain owns. There isn’t a single track on here that is bad, and for the few flaws it has, there are too many positive aspects about it for the flaws to have any sort of impact. One would be hard pressed to find an open-minded listener who would not at least enjoy the album. That’s the levels of universal appeal this has. Some records are made for the enjoyment of a specific group of people. You won’t find post-rock aficionados listening to polka anytime soon, but it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary to see that punk kid, that metal-head, that jazz fan, or even that post-rock lifer come to enjoy some aspect of the brilliance embodied in The Taste of Rain…Why Kneel.

Recommended Tracks: Thought vs. Action, Where the Wild Things Are, I Am Hip-Hop, June 26, 1998: C. Purpose



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user ratings (151)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A section on your pie chart should just read "John Hanson" at this point lulz.
Great album, although Alias and Sole have had better solo records.

slep
December 25th 2006


1604 Comments


Good review on Christmas. My friend has this CD, I might borrow it from him tomorrow.

Intransit
December 25th 2006


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Definitely do. This cd along with Deltron 3030 and some Handsome Boy Modeling School is what got me to listen to more hip-hop. I think it'll probably do similarly for you.

Thanks for the votes/text sex everyone.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2006


17945 Comments


hello good review bye

Intransit
December 26th 2006


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I dont like to review whore, but this is one of my personal favorite reviews that I've written. It'd be cool if other people could read it and tell me how I could improve it. I really think it might be missing something.

Cholo
December 27th 2006


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great album, The Scarecrow Speaks is amazing.

Dwyck
February 3rd 2007


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just picked this album up yesterday based almost 100% on this review as I haven't been able to find others. At first it was kind of weird but upon second listening I really appreciate what they're doing on this album, the music is unbelievable while the lyrics although faster than I usually like and the flow more jumbled than I usually like are still tight. I'd give it 4.5/5

Also,

"While many might consider it a gimmick, all four emcees give outstanding performances on this album, both in delivery and in lyrics."

I was wondering what you meant by many considering it a gimmick?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It was meant more in the sense implying many people might think its a gimmick, not that they explicitly do.

Intransit
February 4th 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks dwyck, I'm glad I was able to turn you onto an album you really enjoyed.

And yeah, what I meant by that was more or less that very few hip-hop groups have four emcees, which could persuade people to check out the album just for that reason.

La Revolucion
May 21st 2007


1060 Comments


Such a good album. I'm getting into more hip-hop lately, and this is exactly the kind of stuff I like.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2007


2711 Comments


User approved.
Man, I love all these shiny buttons now.

Intransit
May 21st 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks Jom! I've been getting sorta hardcore antsy about that. Oh and thanks for the bump. This album is still sex.

Rhaegar
March 20th 2008


24 Comments


Such quality in this.

Aficionado
March 20th 2008


1027 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album is really, really good. I'll be generous and give it a 4.5, but it's probably somewhere in the middle of 4 and 4.5. "The Scarecrow Speaks" is an incredible song.

LiamOrourke
April 20th 2008


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, Nice album.

SpeakerCity
November 29th 2008


48 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Mondo review and album. Really mondo.

Bleak123
November 29th 2008


1902 Comments


i'm gonna get this soon

gaslightanthem
January 5th 2009


5209 Comments


well ok this is pretty excellent

kingsoby1
Emeritus
January 6th 2009


4956 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

is this more anticon stuff.

illuvatar and his white glyben rap ;-p

magictikkleCwicked
January 6th 2009


272 Comments


This is the whitest rap album ever created.



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