Los Angeles-based rap producer Exile doesn’t craft tracks that really knock. Instead, he opts for slickly amalgamated beats. often swathed in obscure samples and buttery piano, that woo underground-rap aesthetes with audible ease. The guy indisputably knows his way around an MPC, but problems begin when he reaches for the mic, which happens a lot on his latest album, 4TRK Mind. Fact is, he isn’t much of a rapper. Most of the time, he sounds incapable, and, consequently, awkward trying to pull interesting verses out of a bag he just doesn’t own: “It’s your boy / So go home, boy” begins his first verse on “Klesto“, Almost as thwarting to him is that his idea of a hook can be pretty dicey: “Oh, shit / I forgot my condoms / I forgot my condoms/ I forgot my condoms” goes the chorus of “If You Know Like I Know”. Seriously.
In terms of production, this album definitely revolves around Exile’s Madlib-indebted style, but it seems as though he culled a bunch of beats that rappers didn‘t want from him and tried to make something cohesive out of them. Moreover, the stand-alone samples he tacks on to the beginnings and endings of nearly every song just seem like a lazy way to fill time. “Younger Days” and “Love, Luv, Love” are obvious standouts, but 4TRK Mind is ultimately underwhelming. It’s too much filler and not nearly enough killer.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times.
// Sound Affects
"History repeats the old conceits, the glib replies, the same defeats. Keep your finger on important issues, and keep listening to the 275th most acclaimed album of all time. A 1982 masterpiece is this week's Counterbalance.READ the article