Review Summary: Great, would be better if the guests would just take over the album. Nevertheless, Madlib is an elite producer.
Raw and grimy hip hop was notably absent in 1999, two years following the death of the legendary B.I.G. Despite that, Madlib and Wildchild come together attempting to create hip hop along the vein of the battle rap and revive the ‘real hip hop’ through their group Lootpack. This was before Madlib was renowned as a virtuosic producer for MC’s like DOOM and Guilty Simpson, and back when him and Wildchild still had heavy affiliation with Tha Alkaholiks, a rap group dominated by the fun loving Tash. Ultimately, the album that the duo came to create was Soundpieces: Da Antidote
, a record that is much more of a testament to Madlib’s production ability than either of the members MCing ability.
How is this? Well, Madlib and Wildchild, despite their knowledge-ability and notable effort, show that as MC’s, they are entirely one dimensional. They rap about one subject, demolishing wack MC’s. As usual, they try to front as them being knowledgable, but it rarely covers up anything because both of the rappers sound genuinely awkward over beats, PERIOD. Madlib’s half mush-mouthed/half sing-song delivery and gravely voice sort of clash, and most attempts Madlib tries to push out a punchline fall apart. Wildchild is a generic syllable cruncher: every time he finds an ill rhyme, he skews it with extra words, cluttering his verses. At that point, it becomes abundantly clear that Madlib and Wildchild are always outshined by all of their infinitely more lovable MCs, even by the Dilated Peoples on “Long Awaited”!
So the MCing is kind of awkward, even it’s well-written, what’s the real positive of Soundpieces: Da Antidote
? Madlib as a producer, even his amateur-ish ways of that day, was a beast even in 1999. In “Long Awaited” and “Wanna Test”, Madlib utilizes soul samples that would later by used by later ‘acclaimed producers’ like Kanye West. The beats sound like a mixture of the thick, workmanlike funk characteristic of Tha Alkaholiks, mixed with obtuse choices for samples that are either looped within (“Whenimondamic”), or used AS the instrumental (“Answers”). Madlib knows when to flip a conversational sample, and start scratching. Timing is key in showing off of DJ skills, and Madlib has perfected this art along with many others.
Guests drop by and spit ill ***, and the Lootpack sound much more comfortable. The beats groove, spasm, and do whatever Madlib wants them to, and that’s where Soundpieces: Da Antidote
works. It’s a great release, classic in terms of production, but Madlib and Wildchild just aren’t too good rappers. One dimensional, funky musical fun is what’s here for sale, and it’s selling like hot cakes. You should probably buy it.