Since his earliest years in production Madlib has been exploring new paths in music, seemingly unconscious of what his fans and critic's opinions. When Quasimoto debuted, many wanted him to go back to the more traditional hip-hop sound of Lootpack. With the start of Yesterdays New Quintet, they wanted him to go back to Quasimoto, and so on. And yet all of these new developments have proved to make Madlib a better and more interesting producer all around.
DJ Rels' Theme for a Broken Soul is perhaps the greatest leap from expectations. The album was inspired by, and in homage to, the West London scene responsible for the short lived “broken beat” scene. Depending on who you talk to DJ Rels & Theme for a Broken Soul is either Madlib's greatest work, his worst, or a pretty damn good experiment from a producer who refuses to do the same thing over and over again.
Like Quasimoto before him, DJ Rels was originally touted as an all new, unknown producer. But as Prefix Magazine pointed out in a review of the album: "Hearing Stones Throw go to so much trouble to pretend that DJ Rels is a real person is a lot like the Republicans who still say that Saddam and Osama were scheduled to play golf together on September 12, 2001." Yeah, well, we've never been good at international conspiracies.
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