DJ Dangermouse The Grey Album

[Bootleg; 2004]

Styles: underground rap, alternative hip-hop
Others: DJ Vadim, Odd Nosdam, DJ/rupture, Prefuse 73

Who owns the copyright? Can it legally be done? Who can sue whom? Is Jay-Z a brainwashed government assassin with the mission of disrupting the democratic process lying dormant behind a fog of blunt smoke waiting to clear? These extremely important questions aside, DM has circumvented God and his loyal minions in the RIAA to combine the jigga man's latest Black Album with the most successful band from Liverpool's White Album, thus creating the aptly dubbed Grey Album, you know, just for the hell of it. I heard he had a weekend to kill. In the process of manufacturing some amazingly sophisticated beats out of many a Beatles fan's favorite album, he reclaims an industry-sanctified classic for the common music lover. Dangermouse's actions have breathed creative life back into a 35-year-old record while inventing a completely new work of hip-hop art. Every sound here, aside from the big pimp's rhymes, was sampled painstakingly from the original LP, which, it shockingly turned out, was a problem with EMI who quickly threw around all sorts of injunctions to try to stop its release. But their efforts backfired and, god bless the Internet, inadvertently propelled The Grey Album into the international spotlight (according to download estimates), making it the most listened to album of 2004. The only problem I have with it is DM's decision to use Jay-Z, with whom he graciously wastes his fantastic Beatles beats. He's a decent rapper, but aside from the usual "Life Is Tough in the Ghetto," "I Fucked Forty Bitches," and other such image boosting hyperbole, he doesn't say much of anything, specifically anything philosophical or political, and his style sounds too abrasive and gruff for the sweet flowing tunes he's sampled over. Hopefully the ideas behind this album will be enough to start a sweeping trend which will see DJs picking up some better source material than an aging Hova with one foot in retirement and the other in Beyonce. The most amazing part of this project, to me, was that an unprofitable, non-labeled, Internet-only album received reviews in most of the high exposure music media magazines and websites and was even NME's album of the week. This type of thing should happen more often just to keep the plot thick. Top drawer!

1. Public Service Announcement
2. What More Can I Say?
3. Encore
4. December 4th
5. 99 Problems
6. Dirt Off Your Shoulder
7. Moment of Clarity
8. Change Clothes
9. Allure
10. Justify My Thug
11. Interlude
12. My 1st Song