Dudley Perkins Expressions (2012 a.u.)

When Dudley Perkins, the alter ego of MC Declaime, first surfaced a few years ago on the track "Flowers,” the off-key crooning was endearing, yet the full-length follow-up A Lil’ Light did little to dissuade the impression that Madlib and Perkins were having a bit of blunted fun at the listener’s expense. On this follow up disc, Perkins is still in fine red-eyed form. Album opener "Funky Dudley” finds Perkins rambling in his half-singing, half-rapping flow about being the descendent of funk pioneers James Brown and Sly Stone. While it’s easy to smirk at these sentiments there is a darker edge exhibited elsewhere. On the otherwise forthright "Dollar Bill,” Perkins’ championing of the coin reeks of desperation, ending with the sentiment "I don’t know about you but I’m tired of being broke.” Madlib rounds out the melancholy air with his inimitably loose production, favouring ’70s funk and soulful ’80s sheen to underscore Perkins’ vulnerability. Despite the fact that both Madlib and Perkins apply an erratic, improvisational air to the album, it’s difficult to detect the order emanating from the chaos. His stoned persona has limited mileage and while the introspective disclosure of Perkins adds some merit to the proceedings and provides some worthwhile moments, Expressions is an uneven affair. (Stones Throw)