DJ Me, DJ You
DJ Red Fish, DJ Blue
The question now is what to do
With DJ Me DJ You.
It’s art, dammit.
I have, at given points in the past, enjoyed the work of Michael
Franti, Arrested Development, and Diggable Planets. I have owned
and enjoyed albums by Public Enemy and LL Cool J. At some point
or other I’ve owned the entire Beastie Boys catalogue. So as
you can see, contrary to popular
belief, we here at the 'Sponge don’t have a general hatred
for all things rap. There are many hip-hop/rap works that multiple
Minions adore. In fact, we really just hate really
stupid, pre-adolescent rap.
DJ Me DJ You is not really stupid, pre-adolescent rap. It’s
more smoothed out, jazz inflected hip-hop, where “smoothed”
is said with a “v” rather than a “th.” That’s a good thing.
To be honest, I don’t really have the vocabulary to describe
this album “critically,” but it does remind me a lot of the
aforementioned Franti and Diggable Planets. Like those artists,
this album seems more organic and accessible than much of the
genre, certainly more so than any mainstream urban music you’re
likely to hear. The disc opens with People Together,
a quiet little song that rides strummed acoustic guitars and
a sweet, feminine ascent vocal, augmented by unadorned samples
of horns. The only thing that makes it a hip-hop song, really,
is that it is, well, rapped rather than sung. It’s a nice, complete
collection of sound.
Track two, Fresh Technology, is more obviously, um,
urban. The samples are more technological (well duh), the lyrics
more obviously edged. Still, it’s a nice listen. Three, Salsa
n Microchips starts with an amped electric guitar sound
and then gets all kinds of warped into, yes, salsa of a form.
Though it’s hardly recognizable as such by the fourth minute
of the mix.
Unfortunately it’s at this point that the disc starts to lose
my attention. Trouble is just a weird, oddly mid-80s
era experiment in Casio-tone. New You loses me at the
beginning by using the trite lyrical cliché of “re-writing”
the pledge of allegiance. That’s just weak. Still, the vibe
still works as a subconscious rhythm section. And really, that’s
what I find myself using Can You See the Music
for: background noise, subconscious vibes; more a collection
of interesting audio snippets than a cohesive work of songwriting.
All in all I think this is a 4-sponger. There’s good stuff
here, and for fans of quirky independent hip-hop I’d suggest
a listen, no doubt. If you’re just not at all into anything
remotely urban like that, don’t go here though. The interesting
bits of collage and composition probably won’t be enough to
over-ride the basic rap-ness of the album.