DJ Shadow The Outsider

While in the studio working with the likes of David Banner, producer extraordinaire DJ Shadow made the claim that he was going to lose a chunk of his fans when they heard his latest project, The Outsider. Sadly he was onto something when he made that claim as not only fans of his early work are going to be left scratching their heads but even followers who saw this hyphy phase coming aren’t going to be too pleased either. Still, it’s not even so much the Top 40 club bangers that make this album so bland because the David Banner joint is actually kind of hot. It’s when Shadow dips into cornball Britpop territory with Chris James, a poor man’s Thom Yorke, to give vocals to a pair of duds that would easily be written off as the new Coldplay single if it wasn’t for Shadow manning the decks. Shadow even manages to make what could have been a fantastic collaboration with Lateef and Q-Tip and winds up turning "Enuff” into a happy-go-lucky pop tune complete with radio-friendly hook. There are some good moments to be found on this record but it could very well be Shadow’s reputation that makes you forgiving as it would be hard to distinguish some of these joints from every other hyphy producer out there right now. Shadow somehow managed to pull of the whole hip-hop-meets-folk-meets-rock thing for Psyence Fiction, so it’s a little confusing as to how The Outsider manages to sound so awkward and uninteresting. (Universal)