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The No Music

Themselves

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Album Review

Anticon has to be applauded for their constant efforts to push the limits of hip-hop. Clouddead's self-titled full-length managed to match the ambience of Brian Eno's experiments with Kerouac lyrics and confounding beats. But Dose One's other outfit, Themselves — his duo with producer Jel — while nearly as ambitious, fails to really engage the listener. Sure, The No Music has its high points — Jel is in top form when working with ambient samples without the pretense of being hip, like the dreamy opener, "Home Work," for example. And Dose One's nasal vocals are powerful in catchy singsong pieces like "Mouthful" and "Good People Check." But the rapid-fire word-dropping on "Live Trap" is likely to detach listeners from any hope of connecting, and Jel's beats can be less than inspiring. The No Music is still rewarding for those who dig deep enough, but it's Anti Pop Consortium and the "Definitive Jux" producers like El-P and RJD2 who pushed hip-hop the furthest over the edge in 2002, with insane samples, mad lyrics, and unexpected, distorted beats building a cacophony that's impossible to ignore.

Biography

Formed: Oakland, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

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

Themselves, part of the Anticon crew, play underground hip-hop with the confounding lyrical poetry of Doseone's other group, cLOUDDEAD, but without the same approach to ambient sound textures. Vocalist Doseone and producer Jel teamed up originally as Them and released a self-titled full-length in 2000. Reincarnated as Themselves, in September of 2002 the California duo put out The No Music, an ambitious but essentially flat record set to undermine the conventions of hip-hop. A remix of this album,...
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The No Music, Themselves
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