Madlib | Rock Konducta Vol. II | Madlib Invazion | ****
Madlib is on record saying he owns roughly 8,000 pounds of vinyl. That breaks down to about 40,000 records, in the neighborhood of 320,000 songs, and
well, you get the point. Certainly there are other dudes who share the producer’s obsessive collecting habits; what separates Madlib from the pack is his ability to pull seemingly any part of that collection out of the air on queue. He’s flexed this ability on his collaborations with MF Doom, Erykah Badu and Freddie Gibbs.
However, it’s his own releases that reveal the insane scope of the catalog inside his head. His 13-volume Medicine Show series—which careened through Brazilian funk, fusion jazz and deep-cut reggae—is certainly the benchmark for his latest Rock Konducta album. With Volume II
, he broadens his range to include psychedelic rock and trashy 1970s television clips, the result feeling something like an acid-washed Tarantino soundtrack. It’s not the producer’s best work, falling somewhere between the adventurousness of his Beat Konductah tapes and the focus of Medicine Show without hitting the heights of either. But even if he hasn’t produced a masterpiece here, just listening to a maestro of Madlib’s caliber weave together his mental Library of Congress-sized audio catalog is well worth the ride. —J.D. Swerzenski