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Album Review: RJD2, "The Colossus"

By Jesse Serwer

Ramble John "RJD2" Krohn began his career as a beatmaker for the Columbus, Ohio, underground rap group MHz in the late '90s. Since then, he's meandered around hip-hop's periphery with a series of predominantly instrumental, increasingly expansive solo releases that only occasionally feature rapping. He's probably best known these days for his many contributions to commercials and TV. (His "A Beautiful Mine" is the opening theme to "Mad Men.")

(As heard on video games and TV, after the jump.)

"The Colossus" is an effective showcase for Krohn's growing repertoire, which, in addition to manipulating samples and arranging instruments, now includes drumming and singing (he's the featured vocalist on three songs here, divvying out others to guests like Kenna and Phonte Coleman of the rap group Little Brother).

If Krohn's aim with the project is to place as many of its songs in as many different commercial venues as possible, he may well hit his mark. "Giant Squid" is the sort of complex yet patently inoffensive instrumental one might encounter on the opening sequence of a sports video game. "The Shining Path," a Mark Ronson-style Motown throwback sung by Coleman, feels tailor-made for a whimsical cable-drama montage scene. But amid the genre hopping, "The Colossus" never locates its center. There's nothing to thread the backpack rap of "A Son's Cycle" (featuring Columbus rappers Catalyst, Illogic and NP) together with the up-tempo, Joe Jackson(esque pop rock of "Walk With Me," save for the restlessness of a man intent on testing his limits.

Recommended tracks: "Crumbs Off the Table," "The Shining Path"

By David Malitz  |  January 19, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags: RJD2  
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