Blakroc - Blakroc
Oli Shilling 17/01/2010
Rap and rock collaboration albums tend to be either very successful (Jay-Z and Linkin Park<) or just plain awful (Kid Rock). This collaboration between blues-rock Americans The Black Keys, and an array of rap artists definitely falls into the successful category.
The collection of rappers chosen is a credit to Damon Dash from Roc-A-Fella, who organised the project. The line up includes big names such as Ludacris, Mos Def, Q-Tip, RZA and Raekwon, but also features less well known acts such as Jim Jones and Billy Danze, who perform just as well. Another highlight is the vocals of singer Nicole Wray which feature on a few of the songs, her creamy tones smooth over the full on combination of the big guitar sounds with the rapping.
Standout tracks include first single 'Ain't Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)'> which features Mos Def singing and Jim Jones' down to earth and chilled lyrics. It also contains some of the best guitar work of the album, which seems to suit the song incredibly well. Generally the lyrics represent the music style, following a bluesy hard times theme, especially on 'Hard Times' (was that obvious?) suitably opening with 'Look it ain't fiction when you really broke, when you faced with an eviction letter note'.
Other highlights are the relentlessness of Raekwon's supreme lyricism on 'Stay Off The Fuckin' Flowers', the catchy 'Done Did It' and Mos Def's poetic 'On The Vista', despite his less successful singing. If you're a rap fan, you'll enjoy this, if you're a blues-rock fan, you'll enjoy this, and if you're just curious, you'll probably also enjoy it. A very successful project.