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Soundpieces: Da Antidote!

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Album Review

The Lootpack's debut album, Soundpieces: Da Antidote!, ushered in a string of excellent releases on Peanut Butter Wolf's Stones Throw label, and helped serve notice that the West Coast underground scene was becoming one of tremendous creative vitality. Much of the album's success is due to fantastic production by Madlib, who takes his place as one of the West Coast's most imaginative trackmasters, underground or otherwise. His style is subtly otherworldly, drawing bits and pieces from countless obscure sources; every listen reveals new, unexpected sounds layered into the mix. With 24 tracks over the course of a full CD, Soundpieces does feel a bit excessive, but most of the tracks are thankfully focused and concise, and a few clock in at around a minute or less. The exception is the multi-sectioned suite "Episodes," an impressive b-boy bouillabaisse that showcases Madlib's fragmented genius. The rapping, by Madlib and Wildchild plus a guest roster of West Coast scenesters, is consistently high-quality, and the album is studded with great singles: "Questions," "Whenimondamic," the eerie-sounding "The Anthem," and "Weededed," the latter an attack on MCs who rely on marijuana to enhance their rhymes (though not on the drug itself). Among the many guests, Dilated Peoples and Lootpack mentors Tha Alkaholiks shine brightest on "Long Awaited" and "Likwit Fusion," respectively. The Lootpack are vulnerable to the same criticism that's been leveled at Dilated Peoples, namely that in returning to hip-hop's basics, they've substantially limited their lyrical content by focusing almost entirely on battle rhymes. They're clever and well-crafted battle rhymes, to be sure, and the group's microphone technique is impressive, but in 1999, it was hard not to want them to pay attention to something besides wack MCs. That's especially true given the imagination of Madlib's subsequent projects (Quasimoto in particular), not to mention his production here. Still, that isn't enough to keep Soundpieces: Da Antidote! from being a resounding success.

Customer Reviews

Beats and Rhymes

If you like Madlib when he's making raw, straight up hip-hop then this is it. Great samples and some fantastic rapping by Wildchild and even Madlib. This is what it's all about, a power trio letting all y'all know that you're not cutting it with those wack lyrics and stale beats. Definitely worth 10 bucks.

An Underground Masterpiece.

OK, so Lootpack is Madlib--the genius producer from Stones Throw--and his two buddies. Madlib and Wildchild are the rappers here and DJ Romes does all the cutting and scratching. Madlib made all of the beats. If you haven't heard anybody talk about this album before it's probably because you don't have any friends that make beats. This album is a showcase for expert crate digging and a textbook example of how to use the SP-1200 to its fullest. Very few people have used the SP1200 like Madlib does here, and the only others capable of doing what he did are Pete Rock and Jay Dee. Realize that the SP-1200 has fewer than 10 seconds of sampling time, and it will add a whole new level of perspective on how talented Madlib is at what he does.

Beats and sampling aside, the rapping gets the job done and the scratches are creative and well-placed. The rapping isn't anything you would compare to Nas or Big L; they frequently rap about how skilled they are and how wack everybody else is, but they do touch on some interesting topics at times. "Weededed" discourages the need for rappers to get high in order to think of good rhymes and "Crate Digging" talks about... well... crate digging, which itself is an unusual topic to rap about.

Everything about this album is solid. It never really bogs down or becomes stale and it still sounds fresh 10 years after its release. This is something that rewards multiple listens, like any of Madlib's work. Madlib would soon make more masterpieces, most explicitly Madvillainy, but this is his first, full-length project, and it reminds us why we love the underground so much.

lol

please ignore that bam margera guy, if you look at his other reviews you can see he has no brain. Anyways, I don't even need to describe how great Lootpack is. If you like raw hip hop, this should be your first stop.

Biography

Formed: 1990 in Oxnard, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Lootpack were one of several old-school revivalist crews to come out of southern California during the '90s, and recorded some of the most underappreciated music on the revitalized West Coast underground scene. The group was formed in 1990 in Oxnard, CA (a smaller beach town about a hour outside of Los Angeles), by longtime friends Madlib (producer, MC, b. Otis Jackson Jr.), Wildchild (MC, b. Jack Brown), and DJ Romes (scratching,...
Full Bio
Soundpieces: Da Antidote!, Lootpack
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