Various Artists

Chrome Children

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AllMusic Review by

Despite the fact that the album is released in association with [adult swim], the Cartoon Network program that helped to bring the world the Danger Doom Mouse and the Mask album in 2005, there are no rapping cartoons on Chrome Children. The record, in fact, is much more a celebration of Stones Throw's ten years as a label than any sort of collaboration with animated characters. Label founder Peanut Butter Wolf shows off much of his roster with (mainly) unreleased tracks, including J Dilla's stellar and melancholic "Nothing Like This." Besides the late artist, who performs on and/or produces a handful of other songs, label superstar Madlib is also a major player on the record, appearing no less than six times, most excitingly as a solo rapper on "Take It Back," but also in some of his various other incarnations (as Quasimoto, a producer, and Young Jazz Rebels, who seem to be the percussive cousins of Yesterdays New Quintet), including as a part of Madvillain, who contribute a fantastic new song, "Monkey Suite," which has a tight yet spacy beat and some great lines from "DOOM all capitals, no trick spelling." Lib's brother, Oh No, shows up on "Oh Zone," which pays tribute to his musical family and influences, and Percee P, the underappreciated MC who's set to release his solo debut with Stones Throw, delivers fantastic, quick rhymes on "Raw Heat." But besides the hip-hop, which is excellent, and showcases the best of each artist, Chrome Children also has examples of the label's interest in other music. The lounge-funk of Gary Wilson emerges in "Dream(s)" (which had actually already been released on 2003's Forgotten Lovers, but not yet on Stones Throw), Georgia Anne Muldrow does her experimental soul wanderings on "Simply a Joy," Dudley Perkins adds his great, raspy Armageddon vocals over a Ray Charles-esque synth vamp on "Wassup World," and Ohio's Pure Essence's "Third Rock," taken from the Soul Cal imprint, is nothing but smooth, warm funk. Stones Throw has always claimed to be leading the way in innovative hip-hop, and Chrome Children proves that they're definitely telling the truth. Here's to ten more years. [The DVD included with the album contains interviews with both Madlib and Peanut Butter Wolf, as well as the [adult swim]-sponsored Stones Throw concert at the SXSW festival.]

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
blue highlight denotes track pick