RDJ2 Goes Pop

Shepherd Express | March 19, 2007
RJD2's 2002 masterpiece Dead Ringer, a mostly instrumental collection of left-field hip-hop, announced the emergence of a formidable underground rap producer who could give Dan the Automator and Madlib a run for their money. In the five years that followed, RJ's solid production never fully lived up to the promise Dead Ringer presented, so he went back to the drawing board for his latest solo disc, The Third Hand. Instead of DJ Shadow-esque collages, RJD2 abandoned samples and made a lush electro/singer-songwriter disc, not unlike a late-period Moby album. Although not quite the disaster it sounds like on paper, the results are decidedly "meh." RJD2's sense of arrangement is still impeccable, but his strength is soundscapes, not songs. When he cut up an Elliott Smith song for the Dead Ringer standout "Ghostrider," it was brilliant; when he tries writing a from-scratch Elliott Smith song on The Third Hand, it's kind of embarrassing.

Shepherd Express

During a time when most of the country’s prominent alternative weekly newspapers have been consolidated and streamlined by corporations, the Shepherd Express has beat the odds, remaining locally owned. The paper has emerged from its unlikely beginning as a satirical...
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