RJD2

Your Face or Your Kneecaps

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Before he hit the big (or at least moderately sized) time as a solo artist with the release of his official debut, Dead Ringer, on El-P's Definitive Jux label, RJD2 put together the extremely limited-edition Your Face or Your Kneecaps more or less as a promotional item. Irregardless of its semi-legitimate status, the album managed to get the producer noticed by Rolling Stone magazine, and it is definitely worth tracking down. It is conspicuous as the rawer blueprint for what Dead Ringer would eventually succeed fully at becoming: self-contained instrumental hip-hop of the highest order. Your Face or Your Kneecaps is of a much rougher finish -- it is a self-described "mix CD," after all, and lacks the glossy veneer of a studio product -- but it also has spontaneity and a ragged bedroom soul in spades. The album's main course is "Poorboy Lover Megamix," a virtuoso display of the art of the sampler. The song's 37 snippets (the majority of them cherry-picked out of the 1960s and '70s) mostly run no longer than 30 or 40 seconds apiece, but the whole 39-minute collage comes together like the greatest obscure, free-form funk 'n' jive live jam you've never heard. Both "Rain" and "Find You Out" have the same sort of effect, but on a much smaller scale. While they feel much more rooted in the earth, they are just as haunting as the mystical landscapes of DJ Shadow. And they help make the album more than simply a warm-up from a extraordinary artist.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
2:38 Amazon
2
1:22 Amazon
3
0:41 Amazon
4
0:09 Amazon
5
0:16 Amazon
6
1:03 Amazon
7
0:37 Amazon
8
0:43 Amazon
9
0:41 Amazon
10
0:11 Amazon
11
0:28 Amazon
12
1:41 Amazon
13
1:28 Amazon
14
1:22 Amazon
15
1:20 Amazon
16
2:23 Amazon
17
0:29 Amazon
18
1:50 Amazon
19
0:21 Amazon
20
0:31 Amazon
21
1:10 Amazon
22
0:31 Amazon
23
0:41 Amazon
24
0:48 Amazon
25
0:10 Amazon
26
0:31 Amazon
27
1:26 Amazon
28
0:12 Amazon
29
0:29 Amazon
30
0:48 Amazon
31
1:14 Amazon
32
1:00 Amazon
33
1:24 Amazon
34
0:36 Amazon
35
2:09 Amazon
36
3:29 Amazon
37
2:33 Amazon
38
5:31
39
6:10 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick