LA’s premier beat conductor takes another dive deep in the jazz crates.
The Funky Side of Life: 4.5/5
It’s been another banner year for production powerhouse Madlib. Not content to rest on his amazing albums of the recent past (Madvillain and the sophomore Quasimoto LP), he dusts off the jazz crates, calls a bunch of studio cats and puts together this serious set of blunted sessions. The Beat Conductor is not half-stepping at all – he emerges himself fully into the mythical five members of YNQ, culminating in this smoked-out homage to the true school jazz scene. Sprawling, freeform jams like his cover of David Axelrod’s “A Divine Image” work wonderfully alongside more straightforward jams (check the organ-heavy riff on Billi Brooks Fourty Days”). Madlib’s perfectly grimy production values are in full effect, as he turns up the horns “The Funky Side of Life,” “The Horse”) before closing out on the acidic organ head-trip that is “On The Hill.” Once again, Madlib proves why he’s the man now, dog.