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Madvillainy 2 - The Madlib remix

Hip hop, since its inception, has been breathing new life into used musical ideas, and the most obvious route it takes in doing this is audio sampling.

Some producers sample music listeners will recognize from pop radio, but Madlib specializes in turning ears on to music that didn't have much attention to begin with--looping beats from the unheard and unsampled LPs filling dusty milk crates everywhere.

Madlib is up to his usual tricks these days, but he's taking on a big project: reworking his most critically acclaimed album, Madvillainy.

Let's clear the air; this album is a lot more like remodeling than remixing. For the most part, MF DOOM's lyrics have remained in tact; they're the frame Madlib worked around to recontextualize the album.

What was once the laid back and smokey "Figaro" has been renamed "No Brain," and given a faster tempo with a 60s soul backing track. Even MF DOOM's vocals are from a different and more forceful recording take. These subtleties are what really make this LP seem new to anyone familiar with the original.

The off-kilter "Shadows of Tomorrow" was changed into "Light of the Past," and mixed with a beat that matches the lyrics in terms of left field obscurity.

It's sad to see some beats go. For example, the backing tracks to "Meat Grinder," "Curls," and "Strange Ways" are part of what made the original so great. However, Madlib doesn't change the tracks without finding beats that are sufficient and thought-provoking. Some songs like "America's Most Blunted" don't make the cut onto Madvillainy 2, and all of the original instrumentals are replaced with new ones.

It's a ballsy move, but Madlib probably knows any alteration of Madvillainy is bound to bring both praise and disdain. Besides, the latter is only a reaction that will come from fans who have heard the original, because this remix--without a doubt--could work as an enjoyable introduction to Madvillain, too.

The beats are new, but what's important is the original LP's ideas have stayed the same: very few choruses, shorter songs, jazz-influenced beats, obscure verbal samples, and the overall feel of a mixtape. It's a format that isn't very radio-friendly, but it still managed to receive praise from numerous music magazines and websites.

In the larger scheme of things, Madvillainy hasn't exactly changed things. However, the LP's mainstream attention should get producers and MCs thinking about treating hip hop like an art form again, and work toward breaking away from the song structures and lyrical themes plaguing the genre today.


  1. "Pow! (Intro)"
  2. "No Brain"
  3. "Pearls"
  4. "Light of the Past"
  5. "Boulder Holder"
  6. "Borrowed Time"
  7. "Space Ho's Coast to Coast"
  8. "Invazion (Interlude)"
  9. "Drainos"
  10. "Fire in the Hole"
  11. "Heat Niner"
  12. "Monkey Suit"
  13. "Fluid (Instrumental)"
  14. "Can't Reform Em"
  15. "Redd Spot (Interlude)"
  16. "Running Around With Another"
  17. "Butter King Jewels"
  18. "Sermon"
  19. "Roller Coaster Riders (Instrumental)"
  20. "3.214"
  21. "Confucius Spot (Interlude)"
  22. "Never Go Pop"
  23. "Savage Beast (Instrumental)"
  24. "Cold One"
  25. "Cold One (Reprise)"


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