Sunday, December 20, 2009

MF Doom's Unexpected Guests

It's been a long time....shouldn't have left you...without a hot review to step to...

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By now cyber cobwebs of Doom obscurities clutter the corners of backpack rap servers across the World Wide Web. Whether it’s by the blue-collar thump of a dizzy beat or the dungeon encapsulated vocals of a daft sixteen, MF’s musical DNA is widespread. Therefore, the ragtag assembly of booth sharers on Doom’s latest spoon of verbal nonsequitors, Unexpected Guests, is actually quite expected. After all, Doom has figuratively lent flour to everybody who’s anybody in organic Hip-Hop. So the Bronx bred emcee-lama’s shot-in-the-dark attempt to staple gun a theme to this record of miscellaneous collabos has been spotted and thwarted.

The product of an esoteric selection process, Unexpected Guests, plays more like a cipher than a concept album. Guests are scattered by region (Jake One from Seattle, Count Bass D from Tennessee), era (De La Soul from the Golden 80’s, Wu-Tang Clan from the Golden 90’s, and Vast Aire from the so-so 2000’s), and popularity (Kurious…who, Invizible Handz, sorta, and Talib Kweli, no doubt) adding further madness to the method. Gratefully, all of Doom’s visitors share the same bionic-bar approach. De La Soul show off some virtuosity as Pos and Trugoy make beat-riding look easy on “Rock Co. Kane Flow” even as the tempo of the song increases, and Talib basically performs lyrical jiu jitsu on “Fly That Knot”.

Of course, Doom’s bars, with their cryptic and poetic double entendres--still thrive as well. In “All Outta Ale,” Doom says he’s at home with his lady and tries “to duke her daily/ until she tried to flail me with her ukulele.” He waves his production wand on “Sorcerers” featuring Invizible Handz, in which he boosts his own instrumental “Licorice” from the Special Herbs project and converts it into a laid back crew cut.

Unexpected Guests, however, is still defining itself thematically. The disconnectedness of the album’s track listing makes for a janky play-through. Also, the cartoonish interjections of “Doom’s as evil as ever” jacked straight from the Fantastic Four mid-seventies radio show are almost as annoying (but maybe slightly catchy) as those mid-90’s mixtape yelps of “Clue!” Unexpected Guests has the lyrical yolk of an album, but the loose ends of a mixtape. Plus, the most stoic of Doom fans have already excavated these gems a long time ago.

-Sidik Fofana

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