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In Search of Stoney Jackson

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Album Review

This L.A. hip-hop collective has maintained a sterling reputation in the West Coast conscious rap underground since the mid-'90s; this, their second official studio release, features a front-to-back production job by crate-digging legend Madlib. Consequently, the beats are consistently fascinating and funky as hell, even when the lyrics slide by without making much impression. Most of the rappers (including guests like Talib Kweli, Planet Asia, and Sick Jacken) limit themselves to discussing their weed consumption and sexual mastery, with occasional digressions into violence or mere metaphor-flexing braggadocio. That's fine, though, because again, the production is fantastic. The tracks shift from old-school funk to weird hiss-and-pop interludes with incomprehensible vocal snippets on top to collages that are so unique, it's hard to imagine how Madlib even conceived of putting them together. From a purely instrumental standpoint, this album is the equal of the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique, but without the recognizable hooks — every sound here is ultra-obscure and the more entertaining for it.

Biography

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

To introduce themselves to the world, the members of Los Angeles-based Strong Arm Steady — Xzibit, Krondon, Phil the Agony, and Mitchy Slick — didn't stick to the usual technique of releasing an album. Instead, in 2004 they issued a DVD of clips from performances, recording sessions, and the band hanging out, although thanks to their mixtapes, they were already known in the L.A. area. In 2005 their debut, Arms & Hammers, was set to be released on Xzibit's Columbia imprint, Open Bar,...
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In Search of Stoney Jackson, Strong Arm Steady
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