Music » CD Reviews


Champion Sound (Stones Throw)


Teaming up rappers with other rappers is a fairly common thing, but producers collaborating with other producers doesn't happen every day. J-Dilla (Slum Village, A Tribe Called Quest, Common) and Madlib (Quasimoto, Yesterday's New Quintet, Dudley Perkins) have two distinctly different approaches, but their new collaboration could be just the pimp-slap hip-hop needs to get over its artistically challenged hump.

The juxtaposition of Madlib's unorthodox arrangements and J-Dilla's minimalist funk could have been like oil and water; instead, it's more like guacamole and chips. Champion Sound represents a historic meeting of two musically gifted minds, who reshape hip-hop's sonic landscape while giving a humorous, knowing nod to its familiar clichés. Dismissing "fake gangsters" while simultaneously upholding their own playa status, Jaylib gets crunk without getting ignorant.

The obvious downside of a production-driven album is that the music is much stronger than the lyrics. Madlib's helium-voiced alter ego, Quasimoto, is a gimmick best used sparingly, and J-Dilla is no threat to Eminem or even Royce da 5'9" on the mic. But who cares? It's all about the ill tracks, and Champion Sound will have the competition crying "Murderer!"

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.