Madlib the Beat Konducta WLIB: King of the Wigflip

Apparently, this is the last entry in BBE’s occasionally brilliant, yet rather intermittent, Beat Generation series where hip-hop producers, from a pre-Fergie will.i.am to J. Dilla, were given free rein for an entire project. For his contribution, Madlib sticks closely to his inimitable style, cribbing sound bites from library vinyl and enlisting a cast largely familiar to those who’ve scanned the track listing of a few Stones Throw releases. Anyone looking then for a stylistic deviation akin to Madlib’s recent forays into Indian music may be disappointed but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything worthwhile here, as it’s all delivered in Madlib’s lovably scattershot fashion. On this record, Madlib seems intent on proving his production versatility. Highlights include the undulating "The Ox (805),” which threatens to elevate MED’s status, Frank n Dank’s humming, handclap-fuelled "Drinks Up,” as well as his surprisingly well-executed R&B forays with Stacey Epps and the characteristically offbeat Georgia Anne Muldrow. Those familiar with Madlib may have to wait for his much-anticipated album collaboration with jazz drummer/producer Karriem Riggins for him to veer off in an unexpected artistic direction but given Madlib’s now extremely deep catalogue, this actually serves as a satisfactory entry point for those unfamiliar with this restless artist. (BBE/Outside)