Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Scratch: Loss 4 Wordz

The long-delayed second album from Scratch, former beatboxer for The Roots, opens with the perennial wisdom spoken by Del Paxton in That Thing You Do!: “Ain’t no way to keep a band together. Bands come and go.” Insecurity alert. In spite of the six years since he last worked with his old crew, Scratch evidently feels the need to let fans know why he isn’t on TV playing behind Jimmy Fallon. If Loss 4 Wordz’s opening statement isn’t a big enough tip-off, the track-listing’s rampant, ill-informed guest-cramming should be: This is not the album of a man who has come into his own. To be fair, when it comes to making record-scratch noises with one’s mouth, Scratch is a master. He’s less of a whiz at production, conceptualization, and sequencing. This frayed string of songs includes vocal contributions from every has-been from the German answer to Snow (Gentleman) to the blued-eyed soul flavor of 2005 Daniel Bedingfield to Seal’s brother to Roc-A-Fella also-ran Peedi Crakk. The R&B songs are wispy and outdated, and the rap tracks feature plenty of beat-boxing, but an unfortunate lack of low end. Saving grace comes in the form of Damon Albarn and Talib Kweli’s “Too Late,” wherein Scratch affects a perfect Deltron-era Kid Koala orchestral scratch, and also in the freewheeling Arthur Baker collaboration “Girl I’m Gonna Make You.” But Loss 4 Wordz never gets off the ground, while Scratch’s former band hasn’t gone anywhere but up.


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