Review Summary: Take two of 2010's best albums, and turn them into something truly special.
Mashups are one of the more interesting musical phenomenons of the past decade-and-a-half or so. Danger Mouse made his name by combining Jay-Z with the Beatles. Girl Talk has built a large fanbase devoted to his danceable mixes of artists such as Ciara and Metallica. DJ Shadow's Endtroducing.....
is one of the most acclaimed albums of the 1990s, despite consisting entirely of other artists' music (besides Shadow's drums). Now a newcomer, Wick-it the Instigator, has taken two of 2010's greatest albums - The Black Keys' Brothers
and Big Boi's solo debut Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
, and created 26 minutes of music that brings out the best in both albums.
While Sir Lucious Left Foot
had excellent production, Wick-it's use of the Black Keys' music makes his rapping truly shine. On his own album, Big Boi's wonderful rhymes were occasionally overpowered by the beats and effects around it. With the music of Brothers
in the background, Big Boi is front and center, clearly rapping circles around anything that 2011 will dare to put out. It's a lot like the Keys' hip-hop experiment, Blakroc
, where Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney supplied music for emcees like Raekwon, Mos Def and Jim Jones to rap over, only this time the rapping aspect is far superior. Occasionally, Auerbach's vocals enter for a break from the rapping, like in "Back Up Pistol" and "Afraid of the General."
Although both original albums had 15 tracks, Wick-it carefully chose eight of the best from each album and matched them perfectly. "Black Bug" expertly combines the vocals and drums of Big Boi's "Shutterbugg" with the music from the hit single "Tighten Up." "The Only Fat Sax" throws "Daddy Fat Sax," arguably Sir Lucious
' best track, together with "The Only One." Yet if the listener did not know anything about the two albums being mashed up here, the combination would still feel utterly seamless.
There are still 11-and-a-half months left in 2011, and this album may really just be an amalgamation of the summer of 2010's best, but we already have a strong contender for album of the year here. The Black Keys may have done good work combining their music with hip-hop before, but nobody spat fire on Blakroc
the way Big Boi did last July. Conversely, Sir Lucious
had some of the strongest beats in recent memory, but nobody in the mainstream rocks like the Black Keys. This was a match made in heaven.