Friday, April 29, 2011

Madlib-The Unseen (as Quasimoto)

I feel like I should smoke a blunt while I write this.

Initially, Madlib was best known as a beatsmith with a library of vinyl that he studied intimately, using it with great love and affection to throw together awesome jazz-inflected boombap or absurdist introductions, filled with dialogue taken from blaxploitation and classic comedic acts. Between mainstream releases, he perpetually puts out mixtapes, such as Blunted in the Bombshelter and his Medicine Show series, instrumental jazz, and collaborations with many of his close industry friends, like the classic Champion Sound, a team-up between Mablib and J. Dilla (RIP). Safe to say: dude is a fiend, prolific beyond belief. That said, one of his most loved records is The Unseen, an album dedicated to his blunt-smuggling Anteater alter-ego, Quasimato, the helium-voiced anti-hero first heard on the Lootpack track, Answers.

The first two tracks introduce us to a raw rap dystopia, welcoming us to violence before the Bad Character jumps in over chill as hell music and vocal samples darting in and out over rhymes about stabbing [fools] in the chest with pitchforks. The voice of Lord Quas turns some people off immediately, which I understand, but in a way it's a necessary tool used to express certain ideas and contradictions as Lord Quas continually attacks detractors for "phoniness" over the course of the album. Madlib appears as himself on many tracks with his conversational flow, sometimes acting as rational counterpoint, other times just showing up to school record clerks on the illest breakbeats.

But that voice. Like Joanna Newsom or Bjork, there's incredible skill in the composition and arrangement throughout, but when some people hear that voice they just cringe. It's a major problem, but it grows on you and soon you're accustomed to hearing him talk to Madlib about things like M.H.B.'s and their favorite Jazz Cats.

His jam Come On Feet arrives at track ten, as Quas tries to command his feet to help him escape an untimely fate after nine tracks of various misdeeds, segueing into some seriously crazy production. The great Melvin Van Peebles lends his voice (in sample form) with the classic line:

Come on feet, do your thing/
Cruise for me/
Trouble ain't no place to be

I'm not sure who did this claymation video for the song, but apparently it was official?

Thanks for the madness, Lord Quas.

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