Over the past several years Los Angeles's Chris Manak, better known as Peanut Butter Wolf, has established himself as one of the most intriguing personalities in hip-hop, one known for his impeccable taste in classic funk, rock, and rap breaks. Though he began his career in the mid-Nineties as a producer for underground MCs like Kool Keith, Rasco, and Planet Asia, PB Wolf soon devoted himself to building his imprint Stones Throw into a premier record label; today, the one musical outlet he allows himself is spinning records.
PB Wolf is similar to a house music DJ in that he communicates his feelings through his record selection, leading to sets that are both funky, euphoric, and at times cathartic. His mix CD for U.K. label Ultimate Dilemma's Badmeaningoodseries (its previous contributors were British hip-hoppers Skitz and Roots Manuva) is representative of this aesthetic, floating from cut-and-paste tracks like Grandmaster Flash's "New Adventures of Grandmaster Flash" to Johnny Hammond's breezy soul-jazz excursion "Fantasy." Save for Grandmaster Flash, most of the songs used here are oldies, some more recognizable than others. The common denominators among them are strong melodies and solid drum patterns perfect for dancing to.
PB Wolf's Badmeaningood Vol. Threeis difficult to pick apart, and it's best to listen to it as a journey with its own twists and turns. What's the story like? It starts out slowly, then grows blindingly emotional, like a François Truffaut film, before swinging into a metronome that deftly bounces between both sensibilities. Throughout the hour-long CD, PB Wolf spins a tale that is thrilling and soulful.
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