Review Summary: Josh Davis compiles his most hyphtastic anthems onto one EP with mixed results
Upon its release last year, The Outsider
was a very polarizing album with fans of his previous body of work. For some, this was not the same DJ Shadow that released Entroducing
, it just wasn't the same person who was responsible for "Stem/Long Stem", "Blood on the Motorway", and "Midnight in a Perfect World". People were so convinced that it wasn't him they decided to give the CD either a biased listen or none at all. At the other half of the spectrum are the people who could listen to it and appreciate it for what it was. Another group of people that have latched onto this balance are people who have recently picked up Shadow from his popularity of having been behind the hit "3 Freaks" and his new found appreciation for Bay Area music. For whatever purpose or group of listeners, this year Shadow released the Bay Area EP, a collection of songs from The Outsider that encompassed hyphy music, while including remixes that made some of the songs sound better. While some of the tracks (re: Droop-E-Drop) make little to no sense being on here, the Bay Area EP is still a decent listen and doesn't include the filterish tracks of The Outsider. This release can be viewed as a lame between albums EP, but the remixes really do make it worth it to listen.
Right off the bat, the Droop-E remix for 3 Freaks plays and we can see what is so different about this. While this remix might have also been on The Outsider, switching it to the first song does significantly change the way it is heard. By going from last to first, the song now sounds more in line with the rest of the album rather than just a bonus cut, and it is a worthy track too. Not only is the beat reinvented and more lively, the lyrics also get switched along with unheard raps and even more bay lingo. Hella tight! What also picks this release up is the two new tracks to only be found on here. One is a completely new track detailing the Bay Area tradition of hot boxing and smoking purp. "Purple Grapes" doesn't give any illusions to what the song is about, but its bluntness and catchy keyboard during the chorus make it a definite highlight off this EP. The final two minutes of the song are a drum and turntable affair, neither of which bring down the song in any way. The other new track is a synth heavy remix of Turf Dancing. While the added synth is a nice touch, it doesn't have the quality that "Purple Grapes" has, and doesn't make that much of a difference in the song that the 3 Freaks remix does. These comparisons make it seem like a black sheep of a remix, but it still is good on its own. What seems questionable is the choice to put in the track Drop-E-Droop. It functions merely as an 18 second introduction to Turf Dancing and really kills any kind of momentum that could have been picked up. Also the closing track, which is the same track that the Outsider closed with makes this seem like a junior component of The Outsider more than a fresh new EP (and while it technically is, still two new songs and remixes).
An EP featuring songs already on The Outsider won't wet many peoples' panties. Its nothing groundbreaking, but it is good for a. hearing new tracks and anticipating Shadow's new release and of course b. rollin' around in your scrapper goin' 18 dummy and thizzin' it. Easy beezy.