The Further Adventures of Lord Quas ***** (5/5)
Madlib’s favorite alter-ego Lives the Life we all desire
Quasimoto is an artist better heard than described. How can anyone adequately articulate what Madlib is up to with his hemp ‘n helium-fueled alter ego? You could say that his albums – both 2000’s The Unseen and the new Lord Quas – are deliriously unpredictable, their pacing punctuated with jerky fits and starts, drifting at times into mellow moments, only to get yanked back into a funked-up flow. You could also try to explain how Madlib divides into different psychic bits, whether rapping as himself, as Quas, or commenting in the third person through the various found-sound dialogues he sprinkles in (Melvin Van Peebles, holla).
None of this makes sense on paper, but on record, Quasimoto is Madlib at his most creative and compelling. He’s Madlib’s id running wild through the streets, free to chase weed sacks (“Greenery”), thick booty (“Fatbacks”) and break beats (“Raw Addict Pt. 2”) all the while fending off drunken panhandlers (“Bus Ride”), wanna-be MCs (“Another Demo Tape”) and other “J.A.N. (Jive Ass Ni**az).” If not clear already, the album unfolds with such a breakneck spontaneity that if you blink, you’ve already missed something important.
It’s especially impressive that Madlib could pull off such a successful sequel considering his productivity over the intervening five years. As hard as he stamps his signature on Quasimoto, he never bogs you down in his mercurial transformations – whether in the dozens of loops he splashes together on the beats or all the doppelgangers he creates for himself. It’s a testament to his talents and the album’s pleasures that even at 26 tracks, you’re left wanting to hear what’s next, just to see what new surprise awaits around the corner.