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The Third Hand

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Album Review

Give Rjd2 credit — he certainly couldn't have moved from undie rap to indie pop without believing in the music he's making. It's no wonder he felt he had to move from Definitive Jux, the home of Aesop Rock and Murs, to XL, the home of Thom Yorke and Lemon Jelly, to have any hope of being taken seriously. And while there's no hint of hip-hop anywhere here, The Third Hand is a surprisingly natural mix of his beat-heavy productions and kaleidoscopic tastes with reflective songwriting and plaintive vocals. Sample spotters beware, everything on the record was written, produced, and most importantly, performed by Rjd2 in his home studio. So, after the gigantic mind shift required to reflect on a record that needs to be compared to Broadcast rather than Blueprint, it has to be admitted that Rjd2 is onto something here. His vocals are thin but tuneful, and he has a knack for good harmonies. His productions still overwhelm the songs, reflecting the requirements of hip-hop instead of pop, but they're far better than what's found on the majority of indie pop records. Two skills he has mastered in the past, mood and texture, make this record especially good; witness the transitions from the quiet short-form piece "Someday" into the wide-ranging instrumental "The Bad Penny" into the highlight of the record, "Beyond the Beyond." [An instrumental version of the album also appeared in 2007.]

Customer Reviews

Awesome! (But not what you'd expect...)

After the disastrous DJ Shadow album I thought; "Well at least we can count on RJD2 for a wicked instrumental hip-hop/turntablism album". How wrong I was. But the thing is, we instead got an incredible alternative pop album with cool hip-hop/soul/funk production. If you liked the song "Making Days Longer" on Since We Last Spoke you'll LOVE this album. If you tended to skip that song, skip this album.

Not another Dead Ringer

respect to rjd2 for going in a new direction with his records. but I can't say it's his best. beats are amazing as usual... but lacks the trip hop feel of his other albums.

A twist on RJD2

The Third Hand has created mixed feelings on forums and chatrooms about it's great departure from Since We Last Spoke. While this is very true, RJD2 has done an excellent job of progressing from complex underground grooves to lighter, more melodic quasi-pop. Some of the DJ's older style shines through on Bad Penny and Beyond the Beyond - all is not lost. As long as you listen with an open mind and forgive RJD2 for not creating a replica of his past albums, The Third Hand will impress. (Also: Do I detect a Christian undertone here? From the repeated "Have mercy, have mercy, have mercy" on the track of the same title to Law of the Gods and The Evening Gospel... maybe Jesus has entered someone's life? Hahaha...)


Born: May 27, 1976 in Eugene, OR

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

RJD2's music is a collage of cut-and-paste hip-hop that combines disparate elements to make for soulful, moody portraits of the world. Born Ramble John Krohn in Eugene, Oregon, on May 27, 1976, he moved to Columbus, Ohio a few years later and was raised there. He first busted out onto the hip-hop scene in 1998 -- a time when producers were emerging from the shadows to seize the spotlight -- as the DJ/producer for the Columbus-based group Megahertz. MHz had two 12" singles released on Bobbito Garcia's...
Full bio
The Third Hand, RJD2
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Customer Ratings