(Mello Music Group)
US: 23 Feb 2010
Once referred to as the female Madlib, the past year has seen Georgia Anne Muldrow embrace more than just Otis Jackson’s off-kilter style. She is beginning to embrace his qualities of prolificness and diversity as well. Fans and newcomers alike best be prepared for SomeOthaShip sonically, if nothing else, as the Radiohead circa-Amnesiac synths of “WhatCh’allKnowAboutThis?” signal yet another step forward for Muldrow and Declaime’s ever-evolving empire of hip-hop funk. But it’s not just Georgia who’s on a roll here, though she does have plenty of other highlights, like the instrumental “Pad Kontrol”, the faux-symphonics of “fOnk w/ an O”, and “Endure”, or Holy Smokes transplant “Boogie”.
What initially puts this release in a different position than Muldrow and Declaime’s last few projects is the heavy amount of collaboration. There are predictable allegiances on display, like Stones Throw’s MED and Roc ‘C’, as well as fellow soulful rappers Kazi and LMNO. But there are also left field inclusions like Kool G Rap (though his verse is one of the weaker available on the disc) and Prince Po that lend a bit of golden era credibility to music that is largely considered an outsider’s scene.
But the real decision of note here is to let other people attempt to not only act out G&D’s vision, but set the stage as well. While Oddisee’s remix of “Get Up” (originally found on his own Mental Liberation) is a bright and summery jam that takes steps to improve upon the already solid original track, the other offerings from folks like Black Milk, Flying Lotus, and Oh No do a good job syncing up with the rest of this album’s thick, dark political funk vibe. I don’t recognize LD’s name, but his remix of “Heaven or Hell” corrects one of Georgia Anne Muldrow’s few wrongs, rescuing Kool G Rap’s verse from awkwardness and simply being doper than the O.G. For his part, Oh No doesn’t one up Muldrow with his version of “Endure”, but as usual he does a good job stirring water cooler debate on the subject.
So, the production is tight, and the vision is still there. The names are nice and G&D still show signs of progress musically. Still, something seems off with this one compared to their last few releases. Part of that has to do with the compilation feel—after the two Black Milk joints, “Heaven and Hell” is jarring in a way I haven’t come to expect from Muldrow’s work lately. And beyond mere sequencing issues, as I mentioned before, “Boogie” (and the detached skit that becomes “Outro”) and “Endure” and “Get Up” have also seen the light on albums proper, so fans of the artists involved here will find some retreads.
I also take umbrage with Declaime here on some tracks, most notably “Shine On”. What would otherwise be another addition to Black Milk’s collection of certified bangers is instead trampled under the feet of Declaime’s somewhat obnoxious and hard to follow ranting about wiggers. Usually I’m on board with fOnky Dudley, as my track record here with his recent work proves. But he detracts from songs about as often as he adds to them here, and for the first time feels like the handicap some sectors of the hip-hop world have branded him. Yet this remains another worthy addition to both artists’ catalogs and does a good job tying up some of their loose ends, while offering a few worthy outsiders into their fold.
// Notes from the Road
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