Harry Samphir kicks up dust when he writes.
Madlib’s artistic canon is so extensive it’s sometimes easy to forget about 1999‘s Soundpieces: Da Antidote!, his debut release with fellow Oxnard, CA natives Wildchild and DJ Romes. More than a decade later, the record still holds up as a West Coast underground gem: 24 tracks of chopped up samples, fuzzy interludes and concise, two minute joints featuring Cali legends like Tha Alkaholiks, Defari and Oh No. Madlib has described himself as “an MC last”, but his offbeat rhyming is all over Soundpieces.
It might not be the most fluid, but it never hurts to hear the voice of one of hip hop’s greatest trackmasters. When Stones Throw Records, abetted by a young Peanut Butter Wolf, picked up Lootpack in ’98, Madlib had already completed vast amounts of material, so much so that Soundpieces dropped as a 3LP album with 12” singles on the side. The Loopdigga EP, released on February 18, breathes new life into those out-of-print rarities from the early Oxnard days. Title track “Loopdigga”, featuring label mate M.E.D., sports a patented Madlib (or Quasimoto) aesthetic while “Lost Art” – originally on the B-side of “The Anthem” single – makes an unexpected appearance. There’s also a remix of “Weededed”, a song in which Wildchild talks about the best way to freestyle (not baked), and three instrumentals. This may be a purchase destined strictly for collectors, but it’s also a nice resurrection that’s long overdue.