RJD2, Since We Last Spoke (2004)
The early word on RJD2’s Since We Last Spoke is that it’s something of a disappointment, especially coming on the heels of the robust, near-heroic Dead Ringer. True, it’s willfully introspective and less frenetic than that auspicious debut; there are no headline-grabbing raps by his old crew, MHz (the then-controversial, indie-scene diss “Final Frontier”) or loud elephant horns heralding the Def Jukkie attack on the mainstream. Though billed as more of a “rock” album, there’s only one straight-up rock track in “Through the Walls,” a slick AOR cut on which RJ sings in a winsome, shy croon. Following the trend of producers singing, albeit off-key, on their own records, he laces “Making Days Longer,” too. His voice successfully imbues Since We Last Spoke with an intimate touch. But the album still seems muddled, full of rhythm tracks that rumble along like aimless yet good-natured sampling jams. The funky disco beat powering “Iced Living,” for example, collapses into an airy vacuum of guitar licks, while “To All of You” is a soft R&B ballad that goes on a minute too long. Definitive Jux.