Various Artists

As if introducing the world to Aqua Teen Hunger Force weren't enough of a contribution to society, the overlords at Adult Swim have now proven to be reliable merchants of fine underground hip-hop and synthesizer space funk. A follow-up of sorts to last year's The Mouse and the Mask collaboration with Danger Mouse and MF Doom, the Adult Swim-issued Chrome Children showcases an impressive Stones Throw Records roster. The bag is ultimately mixed, but the good far outweighs the lame. Dudley Perkins' "Wassup World?" slithers and snaps like Outkast reinterpreting the Addams Family theme. Jaylib's "No $ No Toke" is a woefully clipped minute-and-a-half jam that's composed of a single, stoner-friendly verse book-ended with robotic crooning. MF Doom exercises his infamous timbre and formidable vocabulary over a thin, funky beat, twinkling piano and loopy organ on the stand-out Madvillian track, "Monkey Suite," and the late, great J Dilla turns out another posthumous masterpiece with the haunting "Nothing Like This." Dilla pops up in a few other places on the record, sharing production duties with Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf and usual suspect Madlib, all of whom make up for some otherwise lackluster vocal styling. Chrome Children's vibe is sometimes thuggishly nerdy, a bit of streetwise bravado (M.E.D.'s "All I Know" and Guilty Simpson's "Clap Your Hands") mixed with a little gymnastic wordplay (Madlib's "Take It Back" and Oh No's "Oh Zone"), a touch of neo-soul (Georgia Anne Muldrow's "Simply a Joy") and some far-out interstellar hippie jams ("Nino's Deed" by Young Jazz Rebels, Koushik's "None in the Mind" and Aloe Blacc's "What Now") thrown in for shits and giggles.


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