Thursday, 15 February 2007

ODB - 'A Son Unique'

There’s something wrong with the world when an album like this gets mired in label hell and litigation for the best part of two years, while there’s a new tribute to Tupac every time a label exec can find twelve new rappers who’ve sold more than twenty mixtapes each. Because while grave-robbing the Shakur archives repeatedly throws up ill-matched and uneven collaborations full of false piety, ‘A Son Unique’ – most of which was intended as a proper record rather than a posthumous collection – is the liveliest rap album to (not) see the light of day in a long while.

Rap’s current, bleak obsession with detailing the daily routine of crack dealership is turned upside down, as ODB raps from a crackhead’s perspective and is loving every minute (kids, say no). Unlike the Wu stylings of ‘Return to the 36 Chambers’ or the beserk outer-limits of ‘N***a Please’, ‘A Son Unique’ is a party record, emphasising ODB’s versatility as an MC – for all the wailing and flailing, he could match most, bar for bar. His charisma holds together what could, in other hands, have been a haphazard collection of producers – RZA, Premier, Neptunes, Mark Ronson – and guest spots (Clipse, Lil’ Fame, NORE, most of the Wu, Macy Gray, Missy Elliot, Joe Budden, Young Chris, Fat Joe).

The two-year delay shows: this sounds very 2005, for those of you who are minded to notice – Boola’s ‘Work For Me’ sounds like Lumidee’s ‘Uh Oh’, while the Neptune’s ‘Operator’ recalls their tight calypso funk, with the Clipse sounding slightly sheepish in laying down romantic come-ons against Dirty’s priapic howls. But that’s hardly an objection: when wilfully ignorant party music from the South is highlighted as one of the reasons why hip hop is dead, ODB shows the genre a way forward from beyond the grave.


More fun:

ODB feat. Clipse & Pharrell - 'Operator'


No comments: