Madvillainy represents the highly anticipated collaboration between Madlib and MF Doom. Recorded throughout 2003 -- a year which, between the two of them (under various aliases), saw more than eight releases featuring their work. When Madvillainy was released in March 2004 it became obvious that the best was saved for last as MF Doom's unpredictable lyrical style fits quite nicely within Madlib's unconventional beat orchestrations. Twenty-two short and blunted tracks bang out mythical stories of villains and urban (anti) heroes trying to make it through with their ganja and wits still intact -- each flows together in a comic book fashion sometimes segued with vignettes sampled from 1940s movies and broadcasts or left-field marjuana-toting skits. Madvillainy's strength lies in its mix between seemingly obtuse beats, samples, MCing, and some straight-up hip-hop bumping. Take "Accordion" for example. A wacky accordion sample loops throughout a slow-paced beat and lazy bassline while Doom flies through almost unaware of the background at times. Or "Raid," which features a beat that seems to be so out of time or step with a traditional hip-hop direction. But Doom sits quite comfortable within its frame and sets up Medaphor for a slick guest appearance. Other guests include the bad character, Lord Quasimoto, on "Americas Most Blunted" and the Sun Ra-inspired "Shadows of Tomorrow"; Wildchild blasts million-miles-an-hour rhymes on "Hardcore Hustle" and Stacy Epps floats through "Eye." Madvillainy gets close to the genius seen on Quasimoto's Unseen, and like that record this one might take a few listens to find it. But once it clicks in, this disc stays in the CD player for days.
AllMusic Review by Sam Samuelson
feat: Viktor Vaughn