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Dead Ringer

4.3 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 39.31
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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Discover this year's nominees on CD and Vinyl, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best New Artist of the Year, and more. Learn more

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 24 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Definitive Jux
  • ASIN: B000068QSF
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #87,711 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. The Horror
2. Salud
3. Smoke and Mirrors
4. Good Times Roll Pt. 2
5. Final Frontier
6. Ghostwriter
7. Cut Out to FL
8. F.H.H.
9. Shot in the Dark
10. Chicken-Bone Circuit
11. The Proxy
12. 2 More Dead
13. Take the Picture Off
14. Silver Fox
15. June
16. Work

Product Description

There's a mellifluous, melodic feel to RJD2's production on Deadringer that enables him to easily straddle the US/European divide between hip-hop and trip hop, even coming close to the intricate and lucid inventiveness of the Avalanches in places.

Ohio's RJD2 first dropped his wholesome brand of bumpin' beats on Bobbito's Fondle 'Em Records (as producer for MegaHertz), before appearing later on labels such as Rawkus and Def Jux. It's the latter label that has decided to support his talents full-time, and judging by this debut solo joint, it's a very good decision.

Keeping his musical references as wide as possible while retaining a distinctly b-boy soul, RDJ2 casually bunches together disparate sounds and styles--funk, hip-hop, soul, jazz, reggae, blues, industrial grunge, acoustic folk, indie rock--into a fibrous and free-wheeling whole. There's straight up hip-hop for the heads on "Final Frontier", "F.H.H." and "June" (where he teams up with MCs Blueprint, Jakki da Motamouth and Copewrite respectively) but Deadringer is mostly about the producer's experiments with cinematic beatscapes, funny funksters and down-tempo nods, all approached with a twinge of oddness and some deliciously flippant humour. --Paul Sullivan

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
. . . is this good. Instrumental hip-hop is, I suppose, one possible label for this. And sure, there's some echoes of DJ Shadow here, perhaps a touch of Mr. Scruff, and weirdly enough, I hear hints - just hints mind you - of some of the solo stuff put out by Liam Howlett of, *sigh*, the Prodigy (specifically the Dirtchamber Sessions which admittedly is more of a mix album than anything else and which probably shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as an album like DeadRinger, but I still here some similarities. Sorry.)

But similarities aside, this isn't much like any of the aforementioned artists. It's one of the more unique things I've heard in a while. It's your typical collage of breakbeats and samples and odd melodies. And where RJD2 really shines is in the last element: melodies. Yes, his beats are, putting it mildly, awesome. But what stood out for me is just how tuneful and finely crafted his songs (yes, songs) are. This guy has an ear for melody, and creates tracks that bear this out.
And the songs are oddly rousing, anthemic even. Listening to 'The Horror,' I kept wanting to throw up my hands at my pointless 9-5 life, and go off and have some sort of adventure or something. If that makes sense. It's stirring music, is what I guess I'm trying to say.
The only downside to this album, in my personal opinion, are the non-instrumental tracks. Not to say that the MCing is weak - it's not - just that RJD2 is so good that I bemoan being distracted from his work by the lyrics. But that's a pretty minor quibble, and doesn't make this any less great of an album.
Have a listen and go have an adventure or something.
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Format: Audio CD
Now I haven't heard a lot of hip hop instrumental CDs so I'm not well-versed enough to definitively say that this is the best. But I've heard DJ Shadow and Amon Tobin's supposed best works, and neither hold a candle to 'Dead Ringer'. First off all, both of the aforementioned works fall into the hip hop category but really aren't hip hop. They sacrifice the essence of hip hop for creativity (which doesn't work in my opinion). RJD2 keeps it true to hip hop. The best track 'Ghostwriter' is an amazing beat with an awesome horns sample that blows out of your speakers. And while many complain about RJD2's fellow Def Jux record mates rapping over some of his beats, I actually enjoy 'F.H.H.' featuring Jakki da Mota Mouth and 'Final Frontier' featuring Blueprint. While the beats are definitely well thought out and are creative, this still isn't as strong as I would have liked it to be, with no songs coming close to 'Ghostwriter'. But it still a solid CD and is worth a listen for any hip hop fan.
(3/5 mics)
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard RjD2, alongside with Mr. Lif and The Gift of Gab, in Philadelphia opening up for DJ Shadow. Shadow put on a marvelous show, but the highlight of my evening was hearing The Horror live. The crowd was basically nonplussed after being smacked in the face by such a freakily galvanizing song. It was quite intense. Some other notable numbers he played live that made it onto Dead ringer inlude the haunting "Ghostwriter", the Mobyesque "Good Times Roll Pt. 2" and the super-sweet "2 More Dead". Thankfully, Rj is an artist who is capable of translating his thrilling, live sound to record, and Dead ringer is a fine example of a recording that possesses the vim and vigor of a live show and also the finesse and tempering of a good studio album. Running well over an hour, Dead ringer also manages to capture my interest for the entire duration of play. My least favorite tracks are those that showcase Rj's rapping label mates, but those numbers are kept to a minimum, so they don't detract too much from the overall quality of the recording. Other worthwhile songs include the peculiar, Orbital-like "The Proxy", the Shadowesque "Chicken-Bone Circuit", and the soulful closer, "Work". Real hip-hop is hard to come by nowadays, but Dead ringer is as firmly rooted in hip-hop mores as any good rap album of the last five years. If you're looking for a DJ who spins from the heart, RjD2 is you're man.
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard of Rjd2 through Aesop Rock - after listening to this unique rap that was so out of the ordinary, I delved deep into the underground/indie rap scene to find Rjd2, who's one of his labelmates. So I checked at iTunes, but they didn't have any to sample. I resorted to Limewire, and downloaded a couple of his songs - "Here's What's Left" (the bonus track on the CD) and "Ghostwriter". It was unusual, as I hadn't listened to much, if any, strictly instrumental music. I was planning to get it on Amazon, but on a recent trip, I picked it up at Virgin Megastore.
I unwrapped it, and plopped into my portable cd player. It seemed a bit odd at first, as I skipped around to songs like "Silver Fox", which is one of the more contemporary songs on the CD, but when I listened more closely, cool things started to pop out. During the 7-hour car trip back from LA, I probably listened through it 5 times. Wow. He is truly an amazing artist. His ability to flow from one style to another within a track is great, along with his versatility of the mood. He samples Jimi Hendrix, old horror movies, and features some great rappers. There are more dark songs - "Smoke and Mirrors", and some feel-good songs too - "Good Times Roll Pt.2", all put together extremely well.
More Listened To:
The Horror
Smoke And Mirrors
Good Times Roll Pt.2
Final Frontier
Cut Out To FL
Chicken-Bone Circuit
2 More Dead
Less Listened To:
Salud (an interlude)
Shot In The Dark
The Proxy
Take The Picture Off
Silver Fox
(and thats not to say that the less listened to aren't good)
I think this album is the result of hard work, good taste in music, and pure talent for Rjd2. I'm really happy that I could be introduced to instrumental DJ music with this album. I recommend you do the same.
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