The astro-traveling, high-pitched, bad character of hip-hop makes his return after an eight-year break.
It's no secret that Madlib is a workhorse. Whether it's under Madlib, Quasimoto, Beat Konducta, or Yesterday's New Quintet, the guy is always making music. Good music at that. Some would say that his passion for beat making is obsessive, but who could complain when he is constantly supplying our ears with fantastic music? Yessir Whatever is the third entry in Madlib's deviant project under the Quasimoto pseudonym. The concept sees Madlib creating an album's worth of his filthy-as-usual beats, usually with a psychedelic style to them, and then rapping over them himself rather than leaving the beats as instrumentals or handing them off to another rapper. He doesn't just rap over them as you might expect. He alters his voice, creating the high-pitched character known as Quasimoto. The high-pitched rapping can take a while to become accustomed to, but there really is nothing else like it in the rap world.
While The Unseen and The Further Adventures of Lord Quas have a trippy, experimental sound, the latest Quasimoto LP tends to drift from that astronomical vibe for a more relaxed and traditional hip-hop sound. Madlib even strays from the voice changer for a good number of verses. While Madlib might not have the ideal vocals for a rap career, his sparing use of his deep, somewhat monotonous voice serves as a perfect contrast to the hyperactive Quasimoto persona. Yessir Whatever also differs from the previous two albums in that it is much shorter. While Quasimoto's first two albums were over an hour long, his latest offering is just over half an hour. Although there’s a significant dip in content, Yessir Whatever is easy to not only listen to once, but you may find yourself putting the whole album on repeat. There’s really no filler on here, and the tracks are so short that the landscape is always changing.
At this point, it would almost be safe to assume that an album with Madlib production is going to be on point. The Beat Konducta doesn't disappoint on Yessir Whatever. The beats don't have the same character that some of his iconic work (Madvillainy, Dil Cosby Suite, to name a couple) does, but it’s still awesome in its own regard. Madlib makes clever use of samples, whether it's centering a track around a classic soul tune or sprinkling some touches of something obscure throughout the details of the beat. The production showcases the jazzier, more boom-bap side of Madlib and doesn't take the same risks that you would expect from a Quasimoto album. It has been eight years since the last Quasimoto album, so it can't be too surprising that this sounds a lot different from the previous two albums.
While production may be the main draw to this album, Madlib is no slouch on the microphone. It's theorized that every producer secretly dreams of being a rapper. Many have tried to pursue this dream and you're quickly reminded of why they've been working behind the boards. Madlib is one of the rare exceptions. If you listened to Jaylib's Champion Sound, on which he and the late J Dilla took turns rapping on one another's beats, you already know that Madlib is at the very least decent. While his rapping skills are nowhere near as polished as his beat making ability, he understands how to structure a verse and flow over a beat. He may not work lyrical wonders, but his songwriting ability is strong and versatile. The vocal effect used to create Quasimoto's voice is done in a way that compliments the beat without sounding whiny or gimmicky. I really like how much Madlib used his own voice on Yessir Whatever. While this album may not be as out there as The Unseen or The Further Adventures of Lord Quas, this ends up giving it a more personal touch.
One of the complaints that has been brought up with Yessir Whatever is that all of this material isn't entirely new. A few of these songs have been previously released on a variety of EPs or as singles. To those who have been waiting all these years for a new full-length album from Lord Quas, it could certainly be a bit of a disappointment that his newest album has some not so new songs. Especially when you consider that Yessir Whatever is already a short album. However, it's hard to hold that against Yessir Whatever when presented as a whole package. None of the songs sound out of place, as is always the case, Madlib did a great job sequencing this. If you're more of a casual follower of Quasimoto and don't keep up with all of the latest releases, it won't be an issue as you’ll be able to enjoy all 12 songs for the first time.
Yessir Whatever is simply another high quality release from Madlib. It's a very familiar album. At its core, Yessir Whatever is an album of mellow, banging beats that follow a fairly simplistic Madlib pattern. At the same time, it's incredibly unique if you can adjust to the quirkiness of Quasimoto's high-pitched voice. Yessir Whatever captures a classic hip-hop sound, yet feels futuristic. It may not be as ambitious as the first two Quasimoto albums, it may not be very long, and it may not be 100% brand new songs, but that doesn't mean you can't appreciate Yessir Whatever and what it brings to the table.