Madlib

Medicine Show No. 4: 420 Chalice All-Stars

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With Madlib’s monthly Medicine Show series, the odd numbers are original productions while the even ones are mixtapes. In the case of volume four, it’s a mixtape of Jamaican sounds including dub, dancehall, roots, and all sorts of reggae from before the influence of contemporary R&B kicked in. The producer/DJ reaffirms he's a tasteful crate crawler as selections that feature familiar singers and players mash with unexpected and outright odd surprises. If you can't stand the surface noise then stay out of this soul kitchen, as all these grooves are definitely dusty, with clicks and scratches adding some soundsystem authenticity. At one miraculous point, Madlib goes totally off the grid by pulling out a double-time version of Giorgio Moroder's “The Chase” before throwing a disco-mix version of Dennis Brown's “Money in My Pocket” on the decks, plus the closing minute is a fantastic, spooky journey into the Jamaican hills constructed out of echoing slices of reggae's deepest cuts. The complaint some might have is how patched together the whole thing is, lacking the flow of his Blunted in the Bomb Shelter mix for the reggae label Trojan, which in comparison seems much less “blunted.” Dub master Lee “Scratch” Perry doesn't influence the sounds as much as the Upsetters-acknowledging artwork and the sub-subtitle of "Son of Super Ape" might have you believe, but it could very well just be a nod to the brotherhood Madlib and the legendary reggae producer share. Both are mysterious, prolific, and in love with thick, dank, and otherworldly sounds, along with thick, dank, and otherworldly weed. Speaking of which, it's no accident the album was released on the stoner's holiday -- 4-20 - and if you’re legal, the liner notes feature a list of medical marijuana dispensaries located in Hollywood and East Los Angeles, Madlib's home base.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
10:41
2
6:07
3
6:35
4
7:20
5
7:28
6
9:52
7
9:37
8
11:10
9
10:58
blue highlight denotes track pick