Jaylib promises to be a dream collaboration between two of the hottest producers in hip-hop, Jay Dee (formerly of Slum Village) and Madlib (Lootpack, Quasimoto). But the resulting Champion Sound is slightly more earthbound, as each tries to outdo the other with numbskull raps about players and hoes. It gets so bad that Jay Dee raps on the otherwise great track "The Mission," "Now let me speak on these journalists/Only the ones who need to learn to listen/Before they criticize verses that burn kitchens." But why listen to raps so predictable that they dissolve into the music like sugar water?
Champion Sound'sappeal, then, lies in the music itself, minus the disposable rhymes. On paper at least, the two artists each produce nearly half of the album's seventeen tracks and co-produce the intro, "L.A. to Detroit." But the beats are surprisingly consistent, and every song utilizes Jay Dee's infamously hard drums and snares to bolster Madlib's notoriously psychedelic samples. The combination leads to strong tracks like the dance floor-bound "Raw Shit" with Talib Kweli; "The Exclusive," a pairing with legendary rapper Percee P, who brings some much-needed lyrical aggression; and "No Games," a bouncy panoply of Seventies-era synth riffs. Champion Sound is a fun party album that's difficult to take seriously.
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