RJD2

Dame Fortune

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Jumbling Krautrock, '70s electronica, and Philly soul at its brightest, Dame Fortune is producer RJD2's grandest solo record since his 2002 debut, Dead Ringer. Magnificent City from 2006 doesn't count because it was as much an Aceyalone LP as it was the producer's, and while The Colossus and a couple other releases were top-notch, this one flows with the purpose of his debut, offering an end-to-end journey that's Dark Side of the Moon with much more funk and Phonte (from Little Brother/Foreign Exchange). The latter appears on the soaring highlight "Saboteur," which falls somewhere between B.o.B and the Beatles. At first, "Up in the Clouds" floats out of the speakers in the same way, but then Rhymesayers regular Blueprint tells a devastating tale of drunk driving, death, and endless despair. There are more majestic characters than losers on the album, and from unexpected voices, as X Factor runner-up Josh Krajcik testifies like Al Green on "Band of Matron Saints," his ode to womanhood. That rave-up emerges from what sounds like bagpipes, a total RJD2 move, as is the Tangerine Dream-like opener "A Portal Inward" along with the vibrant, guitar-driven "We Come Alive" featuring Son Little, a song that will likely be mined and sampled by future producers for its wealth of funky breaks. If "PF, Day One" is referencing Pink Floyd with its title, then George Duke should also be mentioned as the keyboards are soulful and the song is full of wonder, and if the '70s seem the thing to the point of a gimmick, the funky breakbeats of "The Sheboygan Left" are a dead ringer for 2002. Dame Fortune is a culmination album with an artist's evolution pushing things forward with all his strengths in tow. Check Dead Ringer for that debut spark, and look to this one for something more skilled, bigger, but just as free-spirited.

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