Guilty Simpson - OJ Simpson

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OJ Simpson is a solid collaborative album, that finds each half obviously challenging themselves, but equally outside their comfort zones.

As trippy and blunted out as his multi-faceted instrumentals are, Madlib doesn’t have any trouble finding emcees that are willing to take stabs over his material for entire projects at a time. Not just Lootpack brethren or MF DOOM either, but notable mainstream-recognized artists like J Dilla (Champion Sound) and Talib Kweli (Liberation), whom had both masterminded classics of their own before teaming with Madlib. The secret in the Oxnard, California producer’s formula is that he keeps his soundbeds as “out there” as always, but he tweaks them to match the artist’s style enough for it to work. On OJ Simpson, his new full-length with Dilla collaborator/fellow Stones Throw signee Guilty Simpson, he continues this formula to perfection.
To properly enjoy OJ Simpson, listeners should deliberately look at it as a Madlib and Guilty Simpson collaboration—not just a Guilty Simpson album produced by Madlib. Nearly half of the album’s 57.7-minute is interludes with random TV/movie clips and instrumentals without Guilty rapping. This approach makes for a frustrating listening experience for those who simply want to hear rhymes over beats, but it captures the disjointed, sporadic cohesion that Madlib fans enjoy with his releases. Fortunately, Stones Throw has made all of the songs and skits separate so listeners can make their own playlist with the songs only.

While the skits may hold things up, the actual songs are largely substantial. Throughout his 12 tracks, Guilty handles topical rhymes and competent lyrical clinics. He uses “Karma Of A Kingpin” to narrate the rise and fall of Detroit hustlers he looked up to as a youngster, and “Back On The Road Again” copes with the ups and downs of the music industry grind. “Cali Hills” vividly chronicles his career and his relationship with Dilla and Madlib with anecdotes and little-known facts about their history.

But songs like the title track and “Trendsetters” show Guilty's greatest strength: spitting witty, hard-nosed rhymes (“Playas need a lesson / Find another way to channel your aggression / Please, I’ve seen babies more threatening / You a newborn, I pop the heat / Consider that, getting rocked to sleep”) that complement his strong, brawny voice. These are the attributes heard on Guilty's stellar street-stuck 2008 debut, Ode To The Ghetto, which Madlib worked on. Guest spots serve well too, as fellow Detroiter/Dilla collaborator Frank Nitty reclaims his early '00s underground acclaim with verse on “Scratch Warning” while Strong Arm Steady hold their own on the dirty “Outside.”

Meanwhile, Madlib’s instrumentals balance Guilty’s gritty bars with his own eccentricity in several places. The villainous “Coroner’s Music” uses eerie synths to back Guilty’s rhymes that are “evil like three sixes,” menacing guitar twangs fuel “Mic Check 313,” and album closer “100 Styles” meshes no-nonsense flow with a lo-fi drum-line and scattered riffs.

Both sides had to bend for OJ Simpson to work, and the duo met each other in the middle. Guilty Simpson had to make his flow even more nimble to keep up with Madlib’s beat idiosyncrasies, and ‘Lib had to soil and step on his unconventional beats to tailor them for this project's partner-in-rhyme. The result is a solid collaborative album, that finds each half obviously challenging themselves, but equally outside their comfort zones.

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53 Comments

  • Rhy Minister

    Madlib is in no way wack. I liked the album. There were, however, too many skits, especially since they wasn't much cohesion with the other tracks in most cases. J. Dilla was crazy. Madlib is crazy. Any talk otherwise I would have to say is misguided and founded in rap ignorance. In this case the album would have been much better with less skits. I'd give it a 3 or 3.5 from 5 and that's only due to the saturation.

  • Drake Dilla

    Heard the album and got into like 2 or 3 tracks, looked for more and Idk, the skits sound kinda wack, like he just grabbed em and splashed on there cause their Madlib, but it dont sound like Madlib produced the tracks for guilty...My advice to guilty, next LP, grab a few madlib raw tracks or a few classic smooth ones then hit up mr. porter, 9th wonder, karriem riggins, or hi tek...even khrysis sounds like the man for the job....I think Guilty and a Legacy from the Justice Leaque should do a track, maybe with percee p??? Thats like 3 giants in one track...just IMO....Anyway I see Guilty being dope as a collabo artist...Like when he does tracks with other emcees...its pretty dope...like dilla and guilty....or even with elzhi or sumthin...But the albums aiight...nothing truly spectacular, tho it is a lil grimy...its okay...I heard the whole thing but was like i think i'll pass other than the fact i might want to hear sum of um again...its okay.

  • imhungry

    MADLIB is a monster!! Guilty aint that bad 3.5/5 LIL WAYNE IS A FAGGOT!!

  • google

    this album is garbage I felt like Guilty is wayyyy betta than this his first album was classic my problem is mostly with those fuckin interludes delete the interludes and I dont understand why he didnt go back in the lab with Mr porter,black milk and oh no to round the album out mad lib is cool I just dont think he was enough for this album.

  • fgjfg

    Fuck yall guiltys dope..not feeling the hate one bit. Do you kids even listen to the words? I havent even heard the album yet but idk anything wack by guilty. that being said obviously u cant beat doom and madlib. dooms had mad skits on all his albums even b4 madlib and him hooked up if u got the orignal operation doomsday u kno that.

  • i dont no what to do

    i dunnar what to piut

  • chuck chizzle

    I keep wanting to like Guilty, but I just dont see why he continues to rap or even be signed to Stones Throw. Nothing he does/says/raps moves me. I dunno.. maybe its just me.

  • Amplified Sample

    The problem is that Guilty Simpson isn't surreal enough of a rapper to rhyme over the Madlib beats. As far as the beats themselves, these are kind of dumbed down by Madlib's standards. Concerning the skits, the Madvillain album had a shit ton of skits on it as well but it works flawlessly because DOOM's rhymes weave around the skits perfectly. This album feels like Madlib and GS weren't in the same room during recordings.

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  • boom bye yeah

    no way... too many stans

  • soundgirlsommer

    guilty simpson is the shit!!!

  • AJScarface

    CD is dope, too many skits. Anything Guilty Simpson puts out is Worth grabbing!

  • kpanilaryea28

    yo this cd is waaaay doper than three! yea yea it has a lot of skits but fuck it the solid 12 or 13 tracks on here are hott!

  • hustler247

    dope ass album detroit in the building

  • wiff

    PS...STOP WITH THE DILLA COMPARISONS...DILLA BIT OFF MADLIB...NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND...CHECK YOUR HISTORY!!!!

    • Topsey

      Jokes, I could not have said it better myself!!!

    • jokes

      you both need to do your research. neither bit off each other. Both were masters of their art and came together to get to the highest level. Go listen to classic madlib and dilla and then jaylib so you can get your shit straight fools

    • WIFFSMOKINCRACK

      Dilla bit off Madlib.???Fuck no...Your History is Fucked up like Madlibs Overrated Beats!!! StonesThrow..was DILLA!!!!

  • wiff

    this album is classic. replay value is through the roof...thanks to the skits...which...as a producer...i appreciate thoroughly! REPLAY VALUE IS THROUGH THE ROOF! FIRE THIS WRITER! FUCKING IDIOT

  • TELLEMISAIDIT

    No more Dilla Beats No more Guilty Heat!! You can Tell when He worked with Dilla it was a better Chemistry and better Blend! Madlib trying to fill the Gap but it Dont work..id rather hear Guilt over OH NO Beats..No more Wanna Be Dilla BlackMilk beats,more Mr.Porter beats!!

    • fgjfg

      no way porters getting mad love ems even got a few beats of his on recovery i think..but i love guilty with whoever but him with oh no is my favorite i like oh no better for str8 hip hop beats but madlibs untouchable with people like doom who can bring a little weird to the weird beats

    • Black Admiral

      Thought I was the only one who dug them Mr Porter joints......The joint on Pharoe Monch and his early Jay Elec stuff is crazy.....madlib is more out there and chops samples because he can use Blue notes entire library.......Dilla was more of a break beat producer who played ill basslines on them.....But if you listen to Yesterday's New Quintet or Nobody thats where Madlib shines...I thought these joints where bands and its just him...On the real Oh no style is closer to Dilla than Madlib...

  • bomb boy

    i agree the interludes are long but remove those and u have atop notch madlib collabo

  • FLIPPIN BURRRDZZ

    why's rick ross on the cover of a guilty simpson album?!

  • FINAL GRADE FOR THIS ALBUM

    I APPRECIATE MADLIBS BEATS, I CAN ZONE IN OR OUT OF GUILTYS TRACKS...HE MIGHT THROWN IN A CATCHY VERSE HERE AND THERE....BUT THIS GUY NEEDS TO JUST BE A FEATURE AND FUCKIN SERIOUSLY STOP PUTTING OUT ALBUMS....HE MIGHT DO GOOD WHEN HE JUST RANDOMLY FEATURES ON A DOPE BEAT WITH ANOTHER ARTIST OR ON A REALLY BANGING BEAT, BUT ALL IN ALL THIS GUY FUCKIN SUCKS IN A WAY BUT NOT LIKE RICK ROSS OR LIL QUEERBOX WAYNE. ANYHOW THIS ALBUM HAS WAY TOOOOO MANY INTERLUDES, TOO MUCH GARBAGE SKITS AND NONSENSICAL THEMES AS TRACK FILLERS ON THIS ALBUM FROM TOP TO BOTTOM AND THE BEATS ARE HAVE A TIMELESS ENERGY BUT AMOUNT TO JUST BLAH. IT IS A VERY STRANGE CHEMISTRY THAT DIDN'T WORK OUT.... THIS IS A HUGE MISTAKE AS A FORMULA AND THE STRONG ARM STEADY ALBUM WAS NOT BETTER EITHER. ITS AMAZING HOW A GIFTED PRODUCER CAN COME OUT WITH ALBUMS WITH GOOD BEATS AND STILL MAKE A COUPLE FRISBEES FOR ALBUMS...GUILTY AND SAS AINT THE BOTTOM OF THE TANK ~ WELL ONLY PHIL THE AGONY REALLY SPITS WELL OUT OF THE BUNCH ON THE REAL, I JUST THINK MADLIB NEEDS TO GET IN TOUCH WITH SOME SERIOUS SPITTERS! MADLIB AND GZA MAYBE? MADLIB AND JAK DANIELZ? MADLIB AND PACK FM? MADLIB AND RAEKWON? HOW ABOUT MADLIB AND GOLD CHAIN MILITARY? MADLIB ON THE BEATS, PHIL THE AGONY AND DIAMOND D AS A DUO...THAT MAKE A REAL INTERESTING ALBUM!

  • FINAL GRADE FOR THIS ALBUM

    I APPRECIATE MADLIBS BEATS, I CAN ZONE IN OR OUT OF GUILTYS BEATS...HE MIGHT A CATCHY VERSE HERE AND THERE....BUT THIS GUY NEEDS TO JUST BE A FEATURE AND STOP PUTTING OUT ALBUMS, HE DOES GOOD WHEN HE JUST RANDOMLY FEATURES ON A DOPE BEAT WITH ANOTHER ARTIST BUT ALL IN ALL THIS GUY FUCKIN SUCKS IN A WAY BUT NOT LIKE RICK ROSS OR LIL QUEERBOX WAYNE. TOOOOO MANY INTERLUDES, TOO MUCH GARBAGE INVOLVED FROM TOP TO BOTTOM AND THE BEATS ARE CLASSICAL BUT JUST BLAH. THIS IS A MISTAKE AS A FORMULA AND THE STRONG ARM STEADY ALBUM WAS NOT BETTER EITHER. ITS AMAZING HOW A GIFTED PRODUCER CAN COME OUT WITH ALBUMS WITH GOOD BEATS AND STILL BE FRISBEES FOR ALBUMS...GUILTY AND SAS AINT BAD, WELL ONLY PHIL THE AGONY BUT DAMN, MADLIB NEEDS TO GET IN TOUCH WITH SOME SERIOUS SPITTERS! MADLIB AND GZA MAYBE? MADLIB AND JAK DANIELZ? MADLIB AND PACK FM? MADLIB AND RAEKWON? HOW ABOUT MADLIB AND GOLD CHAIN MILITARY?

  • C.

    madlib's skill to put together a dope beat is unparallel that does not correlate to being able to put together a great album, this is yet another example. I enjoy music from both of these artist, needless to say im disappointed.

  • RealTawk

    LOl..William M. For might catch him coming out of his job and Ketchum, but nah i dont want to here Guilty on those overrated weird ass stiff ass madlib beats..

  • Vocab

    I really dig the album but the skits threw off the flow, I would give it a 3.5

  • FLX

    Sorry but its exactly a 3/5. Its not a satisfying listen because there is just too much interlude/sample shit this time. Madlib overdid it. And the best songs are way to short. All in all its an album that makes it hard to focus on the actual songs and thats a shame.

    • Umashin

      I know. guilty ain't really all that although ode to the ghetto was good but i don't think this album was to well executed. TOO MANY INTERLUDES fuckssake i mean its breaks the whole flow of the album. there is a prelude and THEN an intro WTF! plus madlib needs to get beater emcees on his full length album shit and none of this album for friends nonsense. SAS i'm sorry are butt i mean they come correct sometimes but i mean half the time they go off beat and not even intentionally like doom its just because they cant write well. and guilty's alright but still, Bring another madvillainy, do an album with nas or lootpack again, even the el-p off def jux or can ox but damn! find someone who can bless your beats

    • I TOTALLY AGREE

      This album is just a big blur and not easy to really care to listen to...I think guilty is not the best rapper for madlib beats, you need this guy on more MOP like beats but maybe he is just a sub-par rapper, I am not hating on him as he has his moments and as for madlib, a lot of madlibs shit is timeless but TAKES too much time to get into, so its best and worst of both worlds. I cannot rate this album more then a 2.

  • brizza

    its good, def. not a 3.

  • C-ARSON

    Don't know what to think now........ I was interested but I'm still waiting on the Random Axe Album. So basically if you aren't gay or have a tight shirt on this gets a 4?

  • Gen Pop

    So this only got a 3 because...........?

  • BRRRR

    "disjointed cohesion" nigga learn some fuckin english aye buy a got damn dictionary nigga

  • WTF-MAN

    This weak excuse for an emcee raps off beat forthrough most of the album thus for once HipHop Dx is slightly on point with their review. CERTIFIED TRASH

  • yaboymal

    fuck all that.im still copping!

  • kush nap

    you got general corn wallace interviewing one of the hardest records of 2010 dx. time to fire this kid and get some real writers on the team. this is going to curb sales, and its sickening to see. this album has street appeal, youll agree with the dx review if you play hackysack, and go to starbucks with your bros. guilty simpson line for line one of the hardest out right now. madlib is a master. this doofus probably wrote the bullshit review from his beach house. techno geek boy.

    • Dontusuallyreview

      ^^the album's not that good...there are 3 better albums dropping tomorrow (Distant Relatives, Revolutions Per Minutes & DIE!)...Guilty's very average on this one and Madlib pretty much carries the entire album from start to finish

  • gdiggedy

    I don't think a 3 suits what was written in this review. Seems like it deserves a bit better.

    • Ron.G

      I totally agree with your comment. As I was reading the review, I wasn't sure why it had a 3. I'm not saying it should be a 5, but the only negative comment in the review was about the skits.

  • Hrmm

    Nah, Guilty is just Phat Kat Lite

  • buckeyewu

    Can't go wrong with Madlib and Guilty Simpson. I may have liked Ode To The Ghetto a tad bit more but this one still gets 4 mics.

  • PeopleWithOutShoes

    another poor hiphop dx review