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RJD2 – Since Last We Spoke


Every day, I’m amazed by the phenomenon of hip-hop, the way the sportsmanship of the scene demands a higher and higher quality of players each passing year, and the way that the true fanatics are willing to not only acknowledge the roots that they have in all different kinds of music, but are also incorporating those roots in every passing song, every album.

Enter RJD2. His newly released sophomore solo album entitled Since Last We Spoke, is a record that puts him permanently in the ranks of original groundbreakers like DJ Shadow, Madlib, and Prefuse73. Don’t get me wrong, this album sounds like no other album. There’s really nothing to compare it to in it’s creative format or sound, but what it does state is the undeniable power of music and the willingness of the true music lover to go to whatever lengths are necessary; to become one with what they are creating.

The concept behind this album is realism. RJD2’s efforts have paid off, and he has created a piece of work that sounds very much like a full live band. With the exception of small, sonic reminders throughout the album, this entire experience has been mastered by one man.

Starting the CD with the title track, RJ lets you know he’s in control by immediately grabbing your attention and holding it tight. He lets loose with false endings and warm vocals just to make sure that you’re maintaining the proper amount of headspin before proceeding with the rest of the album. One thing that you have to remember before going on, is the fact that you are dealing with unbridled creativity that can all go in any direction, which is what happens when you get up and unconsciously start shaking your ass to the barrio-rocker “1976.”

The record has strange continuity, moving quickly on to the melodramatic “Ringfinger,” a track laden with guitars and low-key female vocals over what’s almost become the signature Def Jux drum sound. Track six and track seven, “Someone’s Second Kiss” and “To All Of You,” both capture the feel of the pre-disco, summer evening block party, while “Clean Living” (originally released on the Def Jux Presents 3 album) takes you headlong into and out of the disco age.

“Through The Walls,” the eleventh track on the album, could easily have been created in Iggy Pop’s garage thirty-five years ago, after which RJ throws another curveball with the smooth R&B-ish closer, “One Day.”

With the help of Definitive Jux, a record label that is all about raising the bar for all standards, RJD2 crushes all the preconceived notions once again. Taking the genre of hip-hop and turning it inside out, RJD2’s latest release encompasses all and nothing, an artistic effort that may not be understood by the close-minded, but will remain a classic amongst the universal.


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