Medicine Show No. 1: Before the Verdict
The first of a 12-CD, monthly series Madlib dreamt up to take over 2010, Medicine Show No. 1: Before the Verdict finds the left-field hip-hop producer teaming once again with Detroit street lord, rapper Guilty Simpson. Seeing as this is a boutique release that falls between the pair's official albums Ode to the Ghetto and OJ Simpson, it shouldn't be a surprise to Stones Throw regulars that it is an esoteric effort and primarily a Madlib title. Guilty's Ice Cube-sounding raps are considerably chopped by the Mad one, so lyric lovers will be disappointed as the production heads blissout. Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx routines, police scanner radio grabs, and samples of legendary wrestler "Classy" Freddie Blassie emerge and disappear into a murky funk landscape with Simpson dropping sparse bits of street knowledge. Highlights include the relatively simple and satisfying "Yikes," the thunderous bass monster dubbed "The Paper," plus the mellow remix of "I Must Love You," which provides a moving tribute to the late J. Dilla. Just like the producer's Beat Konducta series, these tracks work best when taken in as a whole, and by familiar Madlib fans willing to follow the urban mystic wherever he meanders.