Quasimoto: Yessir Whatever
For those of you who have been living above the underground hip-hop scene for the past decade, let me take a moment to give you the skinny on Quasimoto.
Quasimoto is one of the many alter egos of LA-based rapper, producer, bandleader, multi-instrumentalist, cartoonist and all-around hip hop legend Madlib. With a career now spanning two decades, Madlib can be credited with pioneering a unique style of hip hop that cuts across audiences and genres. In the late 1990’s, Madlib, unhappy with the Barry White-ness of his voice, decided to slow down his self-created instrumental tracks, rap slowly, then accelerate the whole track up to normal speed. Out of a cloud of pot smoke and seemingly barbaric recording techniques, came Quasimoto’s recognizable, high-pitched voice. Tracks often feature other rappers such as MF DOOM, M.E.D and more commonly, Madlib, whose voice inter-changes with Quasimoto’s. If Quasimoto’s style is cubism, then Madlib’s instrumentals are expressionism; samples within Quasimoto tracks can be traced to everything from Herbie Hancock to Neil Diamond, to excerpted dialogue from 1960’s exploitation films. Without a doubt, Madlib can be considered one of the most cultured, innovative figures in hip-hop.
Yessir Whatever is Madlib’s first album as Quasimoto since 2005’s The Further Adventures Of Lord Quas. Though Quasimoto’s first two albums have distinct styles and themes, it’s hard to call either of them “concept albums” (though it wouldn’t be out of the realm since Madlib’s frequent collaborators include MF DOOM, one of the founders of the hip hop concept album genre). Instead, Quasimoto is known for repetitive lyrics and samples, pulling you into the Quasimoto multiverse. As always with Quasimoto’s style, there’s an interesting stream of conscious flow. A close listen of the album will reveal instrumental tracks and samples from his first two albums. On one song, I even heard some reused lyrics from a track off his first album, The Unseen. Lots of folks might see this album as a cop-out, as this is Quas’ first album in eight years and it’s a compilation. But credit isn’t being given where credit is due. Yessir Whatever’s repetitive quality is something very in sync with Quasimoto’s defined style. Every time I catch something I’ve heard before, it’s as if Madlib is right in front of me saying “I gotcha!”
Listen if you like: MF DOOM, A Tribe Called Quest, Madvillian, Miles Davis
Don’t listen if you like: Insane Clown Posse, Captain & Tennille, Yngwie Malmsteen