Madlib - Madlib Medicine Show: No. 12 - Raw Medicine (Madlib Remixes)

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For a very long time now, Madlib has been my favorite Hip Hop producer
along with Pete Rock. From being "Ma... who?" in my eyes he managed to
surpass all the 90s big names (yes, that includes DJ Premier, the RZA,
Diamond D, Showbiz, Buckwild, Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, the list goes on) and
became someone who gets me pumped every time I hear he has a new
release coming up.

It is necessary to add that Madlib makes a lot of releases. And by
that I mean A LOT. It was only last year when, along with side
projects such as the Guilty Simpson collaboration, he started a series
called "Madlib Medicine Show". The concept was simple - even numbers
were his own productions (and that includes his Jazz group Yesterday's
New Quintet; his beat maker alter ego the Beat Konducta, a collection
of his productions from the late 90s, and many more) while on the odd
numbers he was mixing obscure records from all types of genres -
reggae, jazz, psychedelic rock (my favorite mix,) you name it!

This record was released not a long time ago, and is said to be the
final installment of the Medicine Show, although there are rumors of a
secret #13, which might be a collaboration with his also extremely
talented brother Oh No.

This time Madlib remixes old Hip Hop songs, most of them recorded back
in the 90s. The only remix by the wonder child himself I heard before
this was Gang Starr - Just to Get a Rep. While I consider the duo Gang
Starr to be one of the greatest things that ever happened in Hip Hop,
it hurts me to say this, but I considered the remix to be actually
better. Call me mad, claiming that a beat by DJ Premier from 1991 is
worse than a rather modern remix, but that is just my opinion.
Anyways, the point I'm trying to make is that I was expecting nothing
but greatness.

The album is a typical Madlib affair. In between the remixes you have
his weird interludes, which sample some of the most obscure material
one can hear from TV Show, films, etc.. Track switches to the next
track in the least expected moment, slapping the listener in the face
and keeping him awake throughout the whole length of the release. Not
even ten minutes passed by and I have heard one of the most original
beats I encountered in a long while. I'm talking about the remix for
Q-Tip's "For the Nasty". Not soon afterwards MF DOOM pops up. The
remix for "Roc Co Kane Flow" is simplistic and banging. The short
piano sample that emerges once in while just completes the work of
madness. Immediately after that we are tackled with J Dilla's intro to
the album "Ruff Draft" (Madlib actually remixed an intro, how abnormal
is that?). I think this is my favorite beat on the whole album. It's
so haunting and at the same time so moving. The weirdness continues
all the way through, yet sometimes Madlib shows his more soulful side,
especially on the remix for AZ's "Never Change". The album makes you
sink into it to such an extent that you don't realize when it is
actually over.

One thing I must point out is that Madlib switches his sound on almost
every release. Throughout last year he has discovered such a unique
sound that it is impossible to describe in words. You can never put a
label on this producer, which is probably the main reason why I am
such a big fan.

Overall I must say that I don't recall being disappointed by a project
where Madlib was involved. Throughout his long career (if I recall
correctly one of his first appearances was in 1999, on the first album
by rap group Lootpack) the Beat Konducta has created such an extensive
and varied catalogue of music that I have no trouble comparing it to
that of Miles Davis. I'm sure a lot of people would shake their heads
to this statement, but I can't see a difference between the innovation
and originality of these two artists. To take this analogy further,
I'd say Madlib is at the same stage when Miles Davis was finishing
experimenting with Jazz-Fusion and reach out for electronic
influences.

This album may not be as good as "Madvillainy", "OJ Simpson",
"Champion Sound" but it's definitely a release I would recommend to
people who have not heard it yet.
 

- Robert Fornalski

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