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  Can You See the Music  
  DJ Me DJ You  
  Eenie Meenie  
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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.

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