Previewed on the first volume of producer Madlib’s series of Medicine Show releases, the final, official OJ Simpson album is just a bit more straightforward than the meandering mixtape that preceded it. Guilty Simpson may be the only one billed but this is really a collaborative effort, as the rapper doesn’t even utter a word until track three, following two tracks of Madlib’s Richard Pryor and blaxploitation-sampling soundscapes. Know that, and the Stones Throw fan should be satisfied with the release, as it offers the usual Simpson toughness and the usual Madlib dirty funk along with a couple surprises, such as Lib at his chilliest during “A Friend’s Help Interlude.” Simpson has grown two ways at once as he pumps up the aggression on the title track and elsewhere while offering some restrained wisdom on tracks like the game commentary “Hood Sentence,” which addresses the burden of underground rap fame with “I put them in their best clothes/Family crying out ‘front row’/Fresh rolls, playing with my escrow/On death row, hood sentence, good riddance.” Take out the Madlib bits and it’s an incredibly strong Simpson album, although a lesser album as a whole. Approach it as a Stones Throw release that leans toward the Lib or maybe Medicine Show No. 1.5 and it delivers.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries