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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews



It's hard to imagine, but if Dame Dash was never introduced to Jay-Z, we would never have seen bootleg Rocawear become the fashion statement of the western suburbs or that great Roca Pads sketch off Chappelle's Show. On the flipside, we also wouldn't be exposed to Dash's vanity projects such as Blakroc, a new collaboration between Akron, Ohio two piece The Black Keys and as many rappers as the entrepreneur could round up and lock in a studio. Rap compilation albums lead by a single person or group are hardly a new concept (DJ Khaled has made a name for himself with past efforts) and Blakroc doesn’t stray from a working formula – mix big name rappers, solid production, and eLance bought rhymes.

The downside to the listener of any rap compilation is the possibility of the big names just not caring when it comes time to record, and this appears to be the single unifying theme from the special guests of Blakroc. Be it RZA who sounds one half asleep, the other half bored on Tellin’ Me Things, Q-Tip who from the sound of things is being paid by the word on Hope Your Happy, or Jim Jones’ emo-rap stylings on Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo); the majority of the contributions are uninspired, unfocused, and flat out dull. Even when it does get a little bit exciting, it’s not too far from the rest of the mediocrity. Raekwon heats up the brooding base line of Stay Off The Fuckin’ Flowers, but ultimately doesn’t stray from his comfort zone. M.O.P warrior Billy Danze bum-rushes the mic with his angry broken-up style, but it’s nothing you haven’t heard before.

However, there is a little bit of goodness on this album. Baltimore rapper NOE may sound like Jay-Z, but he delivers two solid tracks in Done Did It and album standout Hard Times. He might not be as clever as S. Carter yet, but NOE’s flow works perfectly with the jamming guitar and thumping drums of Hard Times. Of course, the efforts from the two guys who appear on all eleven tracks - Dan Auerbach and Pat Carney - can’t be knocked. They do their best to create a backing track that’s ready for rhymes while staying true to their own sound but it doesn’t always work, although it’s no fault of their own. Well, perhaps other than Coochie.

People with access to unlimited funds sometimes make bad decisions, and BlakRoc won’t go down as one of Dame Dash’s better ones. While it’s great that he was able to show his enthusiasm for The Black Keys by putting this album together, the end result isn’t one that will be praised about for years to come. Fortunately for him, time and money together can make all those bad decisions disappear for good.

Filed Under
Record Reviews
The Black Keys
Jim Jones
Billy Danze
Damon Dash
Mos Def


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