Peanut Butter Wolf

My Vinyl Weighs a Ton

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Digger of crates, master of tracks, Peanut Butter Wolf has an influences list that stretches into the hundreds (nearly all of them are actually listed in the credits, broken down by year) and a working knowledge of beats and samples that must number in the thousands. There aren't quite that many on his first production album, but he winnowed it down to a cool 75 or 100 to create one of the grooviest, funkiest underground records of the '90s. Unlike fellow NoCal mixer/producer DJ Shadow, PBW has plenty of space for collaborations, with nearly a dozen different rappers stopping by, along with nearly every top turntablist of the era: Babu, Q-Bert, Rob Swift, Cut Chemist, Kid Koala, Z-Trip, Shortkut, and A-Trak (granted, quite a few of them all show up for one gigantic posse track, "Tale of Five Cities"). My Vinyl Weighs a Ton boasts deep beats and choice samples, all of them working brilliantly together, and enough great cutting to keep each track raw and full of energy. Obviously learning a few lessons about sequencing and pacing from classic mixtapes (of his and of others), PBW sprinkles the rappers throughout this record and only recruits the best. Vocal highlights come with Planet Asia's mid-tempo grind "In Your Area," Pablo's feature on "Rock Unorthodox," and a two-part soundclash for the excellent Lootpack crew on "Styles Crew Flows Beats." He name-checked Wild Man Fischer along with Erick & Parrish; got recommendations from rare-groove heroes like Reuben Wilson, Galt MacDermot, and Fred Wesley; and delivered an excellent record that offered just as much to fans of rare grooves, great rappers, and deft DJs.

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