Review Summary: Poppy future-funk at its best.
Initially billed as an innovator in the vein of Dan the Automator on Deadringer
, Ramble John Krohn surprised critics, fans, and label Def Jux alike with the 180 degree turn of The Third Hand
. Not only a different direction for his art, but also a significant compositional step backwards, this release divided his fan-base and scuttled any hype from his cult favorite debut. With this in mind, it seems that RJD2 is working hard to make amends with his 4th official LP; not only is this poppy future-funk at its best, but The Colossus
is proof that this new artistic direction does indeed have potential.
Still exhibiting the organic traits inherent on the near-OCD live instrumentation obsession of Third Hand
, this time around RJD2 infuses his seemingly departed production expertise to superb results. Whether it's the sub-orbital, volume- and tone- swelling synths of the epic "A Spaceship For Now" or the reverb-laden harmonic minor choruses of "Let There Be Horns", he delivers his trademarked brand of 21st century hip-hop in spades. After proving his talents for production still exist, Krohn still finds time to creatively indulge in the simplistic pop of his last effort, yet this time with more variation and top-notch guest appearances in Kenna, Phonte, and Aaron Livingston. "A Son's Cycle" whets one's appetite for the possibilities of a non-instrumental hip-hop joint with 3 distinctive, multi-layered beats weaving in and out of each other brilliantly. This one definitely hearkens back to Deadringer
's "Final Frontier", especially on the tongue of wordsmith Illogic.
The multi-genre approach of The Colossus
is refreshing, especially following such a poor career move. That isn't to say The Third Hand
wasn't very good - when you're considered by many to be one of the best up and coming production gurus, you damned well better deliver something that at least uses your renowned abilities and not some kind of mid-life crisis organic "experiment". The best summary for the entire record is a combination of back to back tracks "The Stranger" and "Walk With Me", showcasing a logical extension of Deadringer
highlight "The Horror" and an expansion of his newfound poppy direction, respectively. But even though The Colossus
shines in this coexistence, it's difficult to imagine where RJD2 would be today had he expanded his revolutionary vision at the beginning of the decade.
"Let There Be Horns"
"A Spaceship for Now"
"A Son's Cycle"