Madlib: Beat Konducta Vol. 1 – 2: Movie Scenes

Image Artist: Madlib
Album: Beat Konducta Vol. 1 – 2: Movie Scenes
Label: Stone’s Throw
Rating: 3.5/5

Okay, it is pretty much a given: Madlib can’t fail (though I
think Yesterday’s New Quintet confuses some heads), so his albums have to be
evaluated as relative measures of success. Beat Konducta Vol. 1 – 2: Movie
Scenes, is a generous offering of musical vignettes. The record is
basically a new take on the instrumental LP concept. Defining these joints as
filmic scores, however, discourages the emcee and instead plays to meandering,
wandering, coffee shops, restaurants, subway rides and drug deals.

For those romanticizing the soundtracks of the blaxploitation
era, you may find that this record really plays well as the soundtrack of your
life. Plug into “The Payback” and pimp-strut down the street, pausing to
shatter the brake lights on another man’s Cadillac; or laugh like a fool and
throw your paper in the air while you play the ambient machine-gun fired beat
of “Money Hugger”; “Pyramids” is suitable for ruminative voyages on the
elevated lines around New York’s outer boroughs (“Funny how things can
change”). ‘Part Two’ begins with “The Rock,” which is a stupid sexy number that
could play as a sequence in which prisoners hatch escape routes from Alcatraz.

Funk loops dominate, odd beats fight for entry, vocal snippets
pepper, and a soul-survivalist attitude emerges. This is not an easy
introduction album to the obtuse techniques of the Beat Konducta. This invasion
really is more for hardcore fans. It is a fun piece of work, and has its place,
but it is not Madlib’s most significant effort. Still, I guarantee that any
urban commuter would find this is one of the few perfect records to temper
those long minutes spent elbowing strangers in crowded train cars.

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