DJ Danger Mouse & Jemini – Ghetto Pop Life

DJ Danger Mouse & Jemini - Ghetto Pop LifeFor a while in 2004, Brian “DJ Danger Mouse” Burton’s name was in danger of forever being consigned to one illegal, if highly creative, mashup project that sparked a rainbow of Jay-Z remix albums. However after ’05’s shiny new Gorillaz album wherein Danger Mouse replaced Deltron 3030’s Dan the Automator as producer, an upcoming project with indy rap staple MF Doom and a promised album with southern soulmeister Cee-Lo Green, his future in music is assured. Now let us look at his legacy.

Burton’s first full-length album came in the form of his beats providing the backing for relative-unknown MC Jemini’s energetic verbalizations. The album is equal parts MC and DJ: it wouldn’t have worked without either the rapper’s penchant for making nearly any topic accessible and interesting, or the producer’s uncanny ability to take enthralling and innovative melodies, killer drum patterns and throbbing basslines and fold them into neat little oragami.

It sounds good throughout, from pumped gladiatorial anthems like Medieval to the incredulous anti-war sentiments of Bush Boys. Danger Mouse’s beats never fail to show off his talent for fluidly shifting form and formula, keeping the listener focused on the track while Jemini makes even the most cliché’d rap-related topics (clubbing for women) sound like the script to Miller’s Crossing or equally cleverly scripted great movie. A true triumph in the face of seasoned veterans’ more awkward crossover attempts since (including Cypress Hill’s What’s Your Name and Kweli’s Lonely People).

Overall, this album is amazingly good at being everything but hip-hop while being pure and true hip-hop at the same time. Dynamic drums and bass, mindwarping melodies taken in principal from other genres, here morphed into something that fits quite comfortably into the Real Rap Head’s Guide to the Musical Universe.

Buy it. Spin it. 4.5/5.