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Madlib Medicine Show #9: Channel 85 Presents Nittyville

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Album Review

The first volume in Madlib’s monthly Medicine Show series to be released out of order, Vol. 9: NittyVille brings reminders of Vol. 1, which found the blunted and funky producer working exclusively with one rapper. Before, it was Guilty Simpson, but here it’s another Detroiter, Frank Nitt, who is featured on a conceptually sound effort that plays to Nitty’s skills as a hype man as he MCs Madlib’s imaginary television station, Channel 85. Judging from the station’s soundtrack, programming is divided between classic blaxploitation shows, where gum-snapping queens of the street flirt with all drivers-by, and some kind of reimagining of BET’s Rap City where “Freestyle Fridays” come from an alternative universe that still believes in the KRS-One and K.M.D. idea of boom-bap. It’s a jagged mess in the best Madlib way possible, as sampled voices from decades past interrupt Nitt’s C-Rayz Walz-styled delivery and his punchline-filled rhymes about weed and women. Representing a different time when TV speakers were tiny, it’s interesting how much smaller and ‘80s-influenced Madlib’s productions are here, and if you’re lucky enough to grab a physical copy of the release, you are rewarded with a bizarre, Channel 85 postcard book/TV Guide. For a series that’s as odd as it is underground, this is still an esoteric entry, but it’s the kind of puzzling head-trip the Medicine Show series was made for, so tune in and flip out.


Born: 24 October 1973 in Oxnard, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

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

Describing himself as "a DJ first, producer second, and MC last," Madlib is one of the many aliases of Otis Jackson, Jr., who has become one of the most celebrated, prolific, and eclectic artists in hip-hop since emerging on the scene in the early '90s. Also known as Beat Konducta, Quasimoto, Malik Flavors, DJ Lord Such, and the Loopdiggaz, among his dozens of handles, the unique sound and feel of Madlib's work (created without computers, using old-school recording and sampling gear) has made him...
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