CD review | BlakRoc's 'BlakRoc'
BlakRoc, a collaboration between Ohio garage-bluesmen the Black Keys and artists such as Ludacris, Mos Def and Jay-Z, is gimmicky and NPR-ready but stands as '09's most interesting hip-hop approach.
BlakRoc, 'BlakRoc' (BlakRoc)
BlakRoc is a bright spot in a dismal year for hip-hop. Which is tough to admit: The eponymous album — a collaboration between Ohio garage-bluesmen the Black Keys and a slew of notable MCs — is gimmicky and NPR-ready but stands as '09's most interesting hip-hop approach.
Let the compliment stand un-backhanded. BlakRoc deepens the louche blues inherent to hip-hop's musicality and lyricism. Keys drummer Patrick Carney has always played with spare, bass-heavy aggression, fundamental to live-band hip-hop. Listen as he goes toe-to-toe with Ludacris and an exhumed ODB on "Coochie" (massive, bombastic) and simmers behind Jay-Z clone Noe on "Hard Times" (dark, haunting). Mos Def works typically soulful verses and backup vocals on a Jim Jones-rapped track; singer Nicole Wray spouts heartcrushing soul wherever she turns up, a vintage update to a stagnating tradition. 'BlakRoc' is due for release Friday.
Jonathan Zwickel, Special to The Seattle Times
Beyoncé, "I Am ... Yours: An Intimate Performance at Wynn Las Vegas" (Music World Music/Columbia)
Bill Cosby, "Bill Cosby Presents the Cosnarati: State of Emergency" (Turtle Head/Redeye)
Rihanna, "Rated R" (Def Jam)
Shakira, "She Wolf" (Epic)
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.
I've been fortunate to have traveled the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia. Exotic islands, too. Wherever I go, I'm struck by one undeniable trut...
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