Preview: Guilty Simpson’s “Ode to the Ghetto”

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Guilty Simpson
“Ode to the Ghetto” – Stonesthrow, 2008

Not due out until March, this is setting up to be the first big splash of 2008 (unless Amerykah actually sees a Feb. release). Over at Stonesthrow, the production credits have all the makings of an amazing album. Guilty has the full support of Detroit’s best – Black Milk, Mr. Porter, and 1 Dilla track; throw in the Stonesthrow dynamic duo, Oh No & Madlib, and Ode to the Ghetto is looking like an ode to beatphiles. My listens have been limited to Guilty’s mix, Stray Bullets, which substantiates rumors that Dilla pressed Guilty as the real deal…however, it didn’t have a lot of material to preview from Ode, but I guess that’s what the advance copy is for. Production is as advertised. Madlib’s “American Dream” is a sonic trip that features a military-paced bass and drums, infused with a sung chant that may have been left over from his Beat Konducta in India. Madlib also did up “She Won’t Stay At Home,” a short commentary on Guilty’s “restless” girl. It starts with a great doo-op-esque sample, then takes off when Madlib drops the drums. Lately, it seems to me that Madlib’s beats are becoming a bit more formulaic, particularly his hip-hop beats (those for his emcee buddies, that is). I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to him for a while now and the subtle, and not so subtle, sounds he uses are less of a surprise. A common thread between tracks regardless of the producer is hard hitting drums (this seems to be the Dilla effect, and is becoming more evident on Stonesthrow releases…see Perseverance). I’m not complaining, just making an observation.

From what I’ve heard thus far, Black Milk does up my favorite beat on, “My Moment.” Snyth, claps, rattles – this sounds a bit dirtier than some of the Black Milk we had in 2007 – and this should bang in your nearest jeep (or associated hybrid) when the weather is warmer. I’m kind of feelin’ “Kinda Live” too (prod. Mr. Porter), a rare moment on the album for Guilty; sure it’s for the ladies, so I guess he had to dull his edge a bit. “I Must Love You,” the lone Dilla beat, also slows Guilty up – in this instance, it’s the token relationship track, you know how that goes – oh girl, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we good for one another – e.g. “the other night we went to dinner to chill/so we can talk about our problems and the way we feel/perfect therapy over a red lobster meal.”

The bits and pieces I’ve gotten have me pretty amped for this album. Production-wise, I have high expectations, and have no reason to think those expectations won’t be met. Lyrically, I think a Guilty album is what I need to get into his style. Thus far, he’s been a cameo guy who has impressed me at times, e.g. “Strapped” (from Jaylib’s Champion Sound, 2003), “Watch Your Step” (from Perseverance, 2007). I can’t forget his part on Skyzoo’s mix, Cornerstore Classic, on “Play Your Position” (prod. by Black Milk) & his appearance on the Waajeed produced “Supreme” from Buff1’s Pure, 2007…now that is a CRAZY beat! (For what it’s worth, his solo contribution to Peanut Butter Wolf’s 2K8 B-Ball Zombie War comp was fire, or fiyah, depending on your local pronunciation).

It’s tough to think how Guilty will be on an entire album after mainly knowing him from verse to verse. It was very similar to Percee P – the guy went 20 or so years with random tracks and a number of cameos, and then boom, has entire album. I think it worked, although I think his potency waned as the album progressed. Guilty certainly has Percee’s grit; does he have anything else? I’m interested to see if Guilty’s rhymes/style have LP endurance.

UPDATE: I just listened to “The Hand That Leads You” & “Watch Your Step” from Perseverance…damn!! That’s fiyah no matter where your at!

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One Response to “Preview: Guilty Simpson’s “Ode to the Ghetto””

  1. Revisiting Guilty « Trading Tapes Says:

    […] In January, I had this to say from leaked bits of Guilty’s Ode to the Ghetto (Stonesthrow, due out […]

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