The Likwit Junkies
The Likwit Junkies
abu was in a promising position earlier this decade as his group Dilated Peoples was looking to break into the top 40 and Defari was likely knee deep in sandwiches (or whatever he likes to eat) from touring with Xzibit. So it was mutually acceptable for them to join forces for an inexplicable two-man beat assault in the guise of the Likwit Junkies. Unfortunately, their product ends up sounding like Blackalicious’s less effective mainstream jabs, which can be blamed on both the West Coast mentality of forced tunefulness and a lingering, underlying desire for commercial acceptance.
Defari isn’t talking about anything, but that’s nothing new. It’s hard to take him seriously when he talks about “Passport stamps, long flights / Thousands of shows, long nights” when he’s most famous for being Xzibit’s hype man and dissing white indie rappers for their successful touring (“I'm out here trying to get shows and a lot of these dudes are taking my money, you understand? The Ugly Ducklings, Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, and all this shit that I ain't even heard of”). When the creative apex of your record is personifying weed as a female love interest, you can imagine how I’d say Defari has a limited scope. Other than the green, he raps about alcoholism, being from the West side, rapping, and the same stuff he let us know about on Focused Daily.
The reason Dilated Peoples have always peppered their albums with productions from The Alchemist, DJ Premier and other heavies to go along with Babu’s works is because his palette is slightly narrow. He ranges from boring Kanye West chop pastiches to buttersoft, poorly sung R & B (rap and bullshit) to the predictable, obligatory take on dub reggae. The best beat was already mastered by MF Doom for MC Paul Barman’s “Anarchist Bookstore Pt. 2” The only song that made it onto my iPod is “S.C.A.N.S,” a mournful horn and bass number with throbbing kicks and an actually interesting progression.
This album displays most of the inherent flaws of the West Coast underground movement of late. Everyone wants to be famous, everyone wants to talk about the same money that the big kids have, and everyone wants to sound like the chart toppers. But the reason many of the headliners are where they are today is because they presented a different spin on an old concept. The Likwit Junkies have the old concept but no new spin and it’s what stops them from breaking out of the side project mould they protrude from.
Reviewed by: Rollie Pemberton
Reviewed on: 2005-04-21