Quakers
Quakers


4.5
superb

Review

by PorkchopExpress USER (37 Reviews)
April 12th, 2012 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Geoff Barrow gets by with a little help from (a lot of) his friends.

You'd be correct in assuming that a hip-hop project from Portishead's Geoff Barrow would be nothing if not ambitious. But just look at that track listing. That's right, there are forty-one tracks on this album. There are thirty-five guest spots, not including the two producers besides Barrow involved. And the whole thing can be listened to in just under seventy minutes. Now, let's talk about ambition. While admirable, ambition doesn't always equal success. For example, Tyler The Creator's Goblin. While I like the album, it isn't without its problems. Most of the issues it has stem from being overly-ambitious. Luckily, Barrow has been making music long enough to harness ambition and make it work, and it's never been as evident as it is on this album.

Enlisting the help of Stone Throw's Peanut Butter Wolf, Barrow enlisted the help of MCs of various styles and abilities. Some are old-school veterans (Dead Prez), some are modern MCs with a lot of clout (Guilty Simpson), and some are artists most people have never heard of (M.E.D.). All of them bring their A-game when it's their time to shine. Since the songs here clock in at around two minutes (and quite a few at just over a minute), most only get a few bars to make their mark, but they really step up when it's their turn. Look at opening single "Fitta Happier", in which Guilty Simpson and MED each get one verse to spit, and take full advantage of their limited time. Over the Arizona marching band covering "The National Anthem" by Radiohead, they do justice to the incredible sample, and come together to create one of the best hype-tracks to come out in some time, all without an actual chorus. In fact, most tracks don't have a hook of any kind. And yet the album is a breeze to listen to. It's almost 70 minutes of people straight-up rapping.

The album itself, with its scattershot, all-over-the-map style (due to both the various MCs and the production itself), almost comes across as a really great playlist more than an actual album, but the quality of the tracks help keep it feeling like an actual piece of music. Influences vary, from the grimy Alchemist-style tracks like "Big Cat", "Jobless", and "The Turk". Some RZA-like, scarred soul-samples, as heard in "There It Is" and "I Like To Dance", to the Prince Paul funk of "What Chew Want" and others. That isn't to say the album itself if overly-derivative. Again, with 41 tracks, there's plenty of room for songs that have their own distinct sound and style, and there are many to be found in the mix.

What it comes down to is this: for those of you who still buy music, this album is worth every penny. It's priced the same as a normal album. The album itself is going to split hip-hop heads into two camps. Those who love every second of the ride they'll take when they push play, and those who look at some of the shorter, beat only tracks as nothing more than filler. For the former, the good news it that the physical copies come with a second disc of just the beats. For the latter, even if you cut out the shorter, non-songs, you're still left with around 30 top-notch hip-hop tracks. It's pretty much a no-brainer. As for me, I've found a strong contender for best hip-hop album of the year, and it's only a quarter of the way in. Hopefully they're able to collaborate at this level and produce more material in the future. If not, then at least they've managed to create this, an album that shows just how special hip-hop truly can be.



Recent reviews by this author
Da Mafia 6ix 6ix CommandmentsSurfer Blood Pythons
Onyx All We Got Iz UsMikal Cronin MCII
Alexander Spit A Breathtaking Trip to That OthersideTiRon & Ayomari A Sucker For Pumps
user ratings (21)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
PorkchopExpress
April 12th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Here's "Fitta Happier":

[a]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG7I9Qu6-Rw&feature=share[/a]

And here's "What Chew Want":

[a]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBuDeys03s4&feature=share[/a]

Hopefully you hip-hop fans on the site give this a listen. It's seriously awesome.

edit: just saw something I need to edit in the review, as well as add my "recommended by" section,
but it currently won't let me edit.

Shuyin
April 12th 2012


12056 Comments


Quakers!

as for quake players, yea?

Jash
April 12th 2012


4244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules, Hep Kat has just been sukin too many dix and needs to get his head fixed

Tupik
April 12th 2012


673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Giulty Simpson, dead prez and MED... Portishead... 41 songs... shit this sounds like it rules hard

Rev
April 12th 2012


9441 Comments


Good to see other people digging this

cvlts
April 12th 2012


8984 Comments


stonesthrowcore

PorkchopExpress
April 12th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Tupik Obviously I couldn't spend the review rattling off all of the guests, but some of the others include Prince Po, Aloe Blacc, Phat Kat, and Booty Brown.

dimsim3478
April 13th 2012


5408 Comments


It just occured to me that one of the horn lines on "Fitta Happier" is pretty much "The National Anthem" by Radiohead.

Digging: Full Of Hell and Merzbow - Full Of Hell & Merzbow

PorkchopExpress
April 13th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not just one of the horn lines. The whole thing is actually. It's the Arizona marching band performing it, and they used that as the sample. It's a good choice, because Lupe used the actual Radiohead song as a sample already on "Enemy Of The State", and he pretty much killed it.

fuckthatnoise
April 13th 2012


1479 Comments


need to hear this

PorkchopExpress
April 15th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Glad to see this is finally getting some more ratings, and that they're mainly positive.

Tupik
April 19th 2012


673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is nice just as expected

kingsoby1
Emeritus
May 14th 2012


4956 Comments


never heard of MED? he's probably one of the higher profile names :]

still need to check this out

PorkchopExpress
May 14th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well, I wasn't saying I hadn't heard of MED, but to someone with a passing interest in hip-hop, he's probably pretty unknown. Though, so is most of the Stone's Throw roster, I guess. But yeah, check it out. Your Killer Mike review bumped that album to the top of my list of albums to pick up next.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
May 14th 2012


4956 Comments


understandable. MED is probably the best guest feature artist around - but his solo records are always forgettable.

lancebramsay
September 24th 2012


1585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

your links to youtube don't work

PorkchopExpress
September 25th 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ah crap, they must have been removed. I'll have to fix them at some point here. Thanks.

PorkchopExpress
June 14th 2013


389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, that's a great one. This album is so sadly overlooked.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy