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Dangerdoom – ‘The Mouse And The Mask’ (Album Review)

Having made a name for himself thanks to the utterly ace Jay Z/Beatles bootleg “Grey Album”, the musically multifarious Dangermouse returns minus regular rhymer Gemini but instead bearing the super-scary MF Doom aka the Mask by his side.

Now that Mouse and Gorillaz have proven that cartoon can be cool, DM takes it one paw-print further by embarking on a rollicking ride through stoner-centric samples from US comedy “Adult Swim” and space-age “Star Trek”-esqe soundscapes. Whether bouncy backdrops, swelling string sets or tightly packed b-boy beats, the whiskered-one manages to be irreverent and inventive at the same time. A mind-muddling medley of animated aurals, superbly stuttered sampling and drop-dead delicious drum patterns, it’s the ideal blanket of beats for a high-calibre rapper to lay down skewered stream-of-consciousness lyrics.

Over on mic duty and Doom is indeed a metaphor monster, a slaughter of similes and quite simply one of the sharpest spitters around. “Back when the mask was brand spanking new; before it got rusted from drankin’ all the brew,” he raps with ease on the screw-ish styled strings of “Sofa King”. Skip a couple of tracks and he’s script-flipping just as effortlessly on “Basket Case”. “I accidentally spilt some kerosene/ And dozed off with the L lit, doped up on thorazine. Matter of fact, make mines a double.” The former KMD-er occasionally veers off into the down-right confusing, but it matters not; in fact his random raps match the music perfectly.

Doom isn’t the only royal rhymer though, as Talib Kweli waxes lyrical on the ’70s Shaft sounding “Old School Rules” and the Wallie Don himself, Ghostface Killah is in the hizouse for “The Mask”. Similarly, another of rap’s under-rated, Cee Lo Green sounds spectacular on the beautiful ‘Benzie Box” – watch out for a forthcoming album from Green and Mouse coming soon.

Today however, it’s the DM & Doom show. Occasionally there’s an unspoken battle between the two as the beats and rhymes jostle for ones full attention. It’s on the acerbic uttering of “No Names (Black Debbie)” though that the two halves truly become whole. “They raps ain’t got no gift like a lonely Christmas,” says Doom over Mouse’s moving electro-esqe, strutting sonica. Proof once more, that you can be experimental, extreme and eccentric but be excellently hip hop all at the same time.