Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Guilty Simpson: O.J. Simpson

This year’s fantastic In Search Of Stoney Jackson was a Strong Arm Steady album, but it was really all about super-producer Madlib, who lent his acid-soaked, purple-and-paisley stamp to every psychedelic beat and oddball interlude. The eccentric Oxnard producer, born Otis Jackson Jr., goes even further on O.J. Simpson, his punningly named new collaboration with J-Dilla protégé Guilty Simpson. Not content merely to scribble in the margins, Madlib devotes half the album to sound collages loaded with blaxploitation dialogue, old stand-up routines, and sound bites from party records. The other half is a series of vehicles for Simpson’s gruff swagger, clever punchlines, and ferocious battle-raps. Guilty Simpson has been on a track-stealing spree lately, dominating collaborations with folks like Illa J (Dilla’s younger brother), MF Doom, Strong Arm Steady, Royce Da 5’9”, and Elzhi. While he doesn’t have the visceral impact as a solo artist that he did as a supporting player, Simpson has more than enough rough-hewn charisma to carry an album whose only guest turns come from Strong Arm Steady and Frank of Frank N Dank. Madlib’s free-associative, abstract stoner comedy and Simpson’s body-slamming delivery and tough talk prove complementary, since Guilty is funny in his own right; he’s a witty badass who will kick people’s asses and make them laugh. Madlib has made standout collaborative albums with MF Doom and J-Dilla. While Guilty is a newcomer rather than an underground giant, he proves here that he deserves to breathe the same rarified air as Madlib’s better-known partners in rhyme.


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