Review Summary: Supposedly tired of Madvillain rapper MF DOOM's laziness, producer Madlib remixes the duo's only album with mixed results. Madvillainy
is one of my favorite Hip-Hop albums. It’s almost definitely in my top 10, and out of those 10 it’s probably the one of the ones I listen to most. That in itself makes Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remix
a hard album to review. Should I compare the new tracks to the old ones incessantly throughout the review (a la Pitchfork) or treat them like totally new songs? Both methods are flawed; these songs (outside of the vocals) sound little to nothing like the ones on the predecessor, but unfortunately are not totally new. Madlib, the producer half of Madvillian stripped the original down to just MF DOOM’s vocals, and then completely restructured it. He changed the titles too, and added some new songs. It’s almost
But the most disappointing part of the entire album, is that it isn’t
a completely new album. This isn’t the new Madvillain album that was promised for 08, and might mean that one isn’t going to coming out anytime soon. Listening to Borrowed Time
, it’s impossible for me to shake the original (Accordion) from my head. The sparse, jumpy bass and hi hat-heavy beat is a poor substitute for the original’s Daedelus-sampled accordion. It’s still a great track, but even when trying to think of it as completely independent from the original (I can hardly do it), it doesn’t stand up. I would comment on Doom’s stellar lyrics (When he have the mic you don’t go next/Leavin’ pussycats like why hoes need Kotex), but this album doesn’t seem to be about Doom. Madvillainy 2 doesn’t sound like it was created by two people. The beats overpower the vocals instead of complimenting them, making Madlib the star. Doom’s distinct voice becomes an instrument at Madlib’s command, especially on Drainos
, where he hazily sings instead of rapping.
, a new addition to the album, originally released on the Stones Throw compilation Chrome Children, is left seemingly intact. It’s a great song, with tight rhymes about keeping it real overtop a glitch-y beat, and a surprising to find on the album. Figaro remix No Brain
is chosen to open the album (after a brief intro), as opposed to the original, which was a mid-album highlight. It’s much more peppy and upbeat and, in keeping with the album’s tradition, brings the focus away from Doom’s great rhymes. The beat is a great one, and has a lot going on, making the fact that Doom has been up-staged completely forgivable. All Caps’ remix, titled Never Go Pop
, brings in a jazzy-piano loop and a subdued drum beat and works very well. But in general, the tracks where I don’t recognize the original right away, I prefer to the ones where I do. When listening to a remix of a song where I don’t recognize Doom’s verses, I don’t compare it to the original, and thus can appreciate it more. However great Madlib’s new beats, many of which revolve around a lot of horns and still more of the typical glitchy samples Madlib is known for, are, it’s almost impossible for the new songs to compete with the old ones, and that’s the curse of Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remix
. It’s a good album, but no match for the original, or for the promise of new material.
Get off your lazy butt, MF DOOM!