KUTE Pick O’ The Week

DJ Shadow

The Outsider

Mo’ Wax Records, 2006

You may call him a hip-hop savior or a fraud, depending on where you stand; but regardless, DJ Shadow has been making music for more than 10 years now, and he’s clearly not slowing his momentum-though he’s only released a few proper albums. His unique style of blending urban beats with obscure vinyl samples while mixing in every imagined genre out there is unmistakable.

But his newest endeavor, The Outsider, is a different beast altogether. Instead of being flowing and free in form, it is split almost equally between a straightforward rap sound and his more familiar sonic noodlings and turntable instrumentalism. This is a more dichotomous release than his other albums, especially his debut, ?Endtroducing, but that may be the point-to cause an apparent and deliberate line to be drawn between his two musical leanings. The result is a wonderful mix of experimentalism and familiarity.

DJ Shadow invites old collaborators, such as Lateef, as well as new voices, such as Q-Tip, Keak Da Sneak and Droopy, to share in the rapping honors. The best cut on the album is “Three Freaks,” testing the limit one’s ears can take of sparring sonic extremes, one very high-pitched beat and one very low bass beat. The effect is dizzying but intriguing.

“Turf Dancing” is another example of a well-produced mainstream rap track. For the more electro-experimentalism bent, check out “Artifact” and “Triplicate/Something Happened That Day.”

Check out this album and find out why DJ Shadow is considered a forerunner of rap music as well as indie music. You won’t be disappointed.

You can hear this and other fine independent music by tuning into KUTE Student Radio, 1620 AM, in the dorms on UTV 66 or by streaming us online at www.kute.org.