Cex Tall, Dark and Handcuffed

While his fascination with hip-hop was a little obvious on his first two albums, Role Model and Oops, I Did It Again!, the music was still some of the sweetest IDM being made. But on Rjyan Kidwell’s third album under the moniker Cex, he has unleashed his true passionate beast, opting to give birth to his rhyming skills. Thankfully, Tall, Dark and Handcuffed isn’t straightforward, generic hip-hop. While the main focus is on the words, fans of his earlier work will be happy to know that the music in the background is every bit as entertaining as his offbeat and often hilarious rhymes upfront. Another new element added to Cex’s game plan is the inclusion of guest artists (a necessity for a hip-hop record). Guests include DJ Fader, DJ Han and Tony Hilfiger, however, in what is one of the least expected collaborations, Craig Wedren of Shudder To Think appears on five of the album’s tracks. Surprisingly, Wedren brings a whole other dimension to the music, with his exceptionally high vocals mixing in rather nicely, avoiding a sure misfire. Making the adjustment from Cex’s other style to this is difficult at first, but his knack for skits is still around, and even better than ever, which is a welcome comfort. It’s hard to tell if this is a one-off effort or a rebirth, but whichever way he decides to go, thrills and laughs can always be expected. (Tigerbeat6)