One of the benefits of being prolific is that no matter how large you get, there’s a part of your catalog that will always remain secret(e). It’s something everyone from Wayne to Lil B has cultivated and has allowed them to sustain a serious connection with their audience despite their mass appeal. Madlib is no different, and though his fanbase are more likely to dig in crates than wear chef’s hats, the bizarre eclecticism, intentional messiness, and need to record every idea appeals to the committed.
Otis Jackson Jr. first came to fame in Lootpack, whose debut included a track from Kazi, a fellow Oxnard native, who seemed like he was next in line, until he fell off the face of the earth. His discography is ghost past 2004, so posterity shines strictly on “Down for the Kaz,” the Madlib-produced EP that Stones Throw released in 2000. The gem is the misnomer, “A.V.E.R.A.G.E,” one of Madlib’s best flips in his West Coast D.I.T.C. mode. Kazi’s rhymes are almost a curio, backpack boasts in the vein of J-Ro. Tha Liks influence on LA hip-hop is always unsung, but in plain view here. Highly recommended for those who discovered the bomb shelter later on.