Various Artists

Chrome Children, Vol. 2

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Teaming up again with [adult swim] to release another compilation of quirky, off-beat hip-hop and soul, Stones Throw's Chrome Children, Vol. 2 is as varied and interesting as the first edition, with new, previously unreleased tracks from, among others, Percee P, Guilty Simpson, MED, James Pants, and of course, Madlib -- who shows up only three times here, twice as the Beat Konducta, hinting at his album of Indian-inspired beats to come with "Selah's Children," and once as the Jazzistics, one of his many avant-garde jazz associations, and whose track "Marcus, Martin and Malcolm" is set to appear on the upcoming Yesterday's New Quintet record. There's some really great material here: Aloe Blacc shows off his skills as a rapper in the eerily catchy "Happy Now?," the late Clifford Nyren is paid tribute to on "Keep Running Away," a song that had already gotten a fair amount of attention after its reissue by Now Again, and Oh No proves that he has a talent equal to that of his brother's on "Gitback." This isn't your average compilation, that's for sure, and even though the tracks move from more straightforward underground hip-hop (MED's "Rhymes with an L") to electro (courtesy of N.W.A's Arabian Prince on "Strange Life") to smooth, L.A. neo-soul (Gary Wilson's "Soul Traveling"), it all very much fits together, quirky and spacey and laced gently with marijuana references, a good showing from Stones Throw, definitely promising an interesting, and eclectic, future.

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