From the unlikely beach town of Oxnard, 40 miles north of Los Angeles, the multi-dimensional Madlib quickly rose to prominence as one of the most interesting figures in late-'90s hip-hop. With his childhood buddies in Lootpack, Madlib quickly made a name for himself as a rapper, producer, and DJ. In particular, his expansive style and deft touch for composition made him one of hip-hop's most sought-after producers. An enthusiastic crate-digger, with a deep reverence for jazz and soul, Madlib branched out into a number of ambitious, engaging solo projects. Along with DJ Romes and Wildchild, Madlib formed Lootpack in their hometown of Oxnard. The trio made their debut on Tha Alkaholiks' 21 & Over in 1993. They continued doing work for Tha Alkaholiks and other artists before releasing their full-length Soundpieces: Da Antidote! six years later. The album earned solid reviews but went largely unnoticed. Madlib did not, however. After hooking up with Los Angeles DJ Peanut Butter Wolf, Madlib did a lot of production for Wolf's Stones Throw label. In 1999 the label released Quasimoto's astonishing The Unseen LP. Doubling as himself and his alter ego Quasimoto, Madlib handled vocals and production duties on the album, a huge critical success. Not resting on his laurels, Madlib followed The Unseen a year later with his Yesterdays New Quintet project. Madlib played all the instruments himself, infusing his exploration of jazz with both style and substance. Another stylistic detour followed in late 2002, when he released Blunted in the Bomb Shelter Mix, a spin through the vault of the classic dub/reggae label Trojan. While continuing on with a massive release schedule and workload, Madlib completed a remix/reinterpretation project for Blue Note, a collaboration with Jay Dee under the Jaylib alias, a collaboration with MF Doom, half the production of fellow Lootpack member Wildchild's solo record, and many other remix and producer tasks — all in 2003. Never one to slow down, the next few years brought a myriad new releases, including The Funky Side of Life from jazz band Sound Directions, Quasimoto's The Further Adventures of Lord Quas, his own Beat Konducta, Vols. 1-2, and a collaboration with Talib Kweli, Liberation, which was made available as a free download on the Stones Throw website during the first week of 2007. A Genius.


David Bertrand

Album Discography

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