Review Summary: money hungry bitches
Otis Jackson Jr. (Madlib) is a bad character. He’s built up a formidable career out of collaborating with supervillains, clan members, and guilty men, all of whom being characters even worse than Madlib himself, and then there’s his solo works, which plagiarizes (samples) hard-working and sadly obscure jazz artists of yesteryear without any mercy whatsoever. And then there’s the issue of passing out poison apples to children and smacking niggas with bricks. Point is, Jackson is a bad motherfuc
ker, but as the years have passed and Quasimoto, his chipmunk-voiced alter-ego, becomes recent history, it seems that our man’s badass
ness is sadly fading. Even the villains he works with nowadays seem quite a bit less villainous.
Perhaps this the reason that The Unseen
, Jackson’s debut under the Quasimoto pseudonym, has aged so well. Recorded in 2000 during a week-long psilocybin mushroom binge, the album was completely revolutionary; no one had heard anything like Jackson’s abstract, sparse, and distorted production. Heavy on obscure jazz samples and dreamy loops, The Unseen
is a fragmented and often difficult work, but not so difficult that any enjoyment is trimmed. In fact, with the right psychoactive chemical, you’ll have more enjoyment listening to this than possibly anything else.
spans twenty-four tracks, and each one is weird, obscene, and entertaining. Your average Unseen
song features seemingly left-field vocal samples, psychedelic and almost lush production, and verses that pop in and out at random, the whole thing never lasting any longer than four minutes, at most three. All that’s considered to be traditional, in terms of song structure, is thrown to the wind. Melodies drift in and out; songs are constantly changing and more progressive than their length may suggest, and they end abruptly, the next three-minute jingle starting before you even know it.
Quasimoto’s albums are notable for the tinkering Jackson does with his verses, manipulating them to a pitch an octave higher than any self-respecting rapper would ever spit at. In short, Jackson sounds like a chipmunk on The Unseen
. Or a demonic child. It’s something that should be dismissed as gimmicky, but this ‘helium effect’ actually contributes to The Unseen
’s whole left-field aesthetic. And if you’re looking for something left-field, something that deviates from the stagnant norm of what’s become hip-hop, you’ll find great solace in this impressive debut. Just make sure you pack a bowl first.