Many words can be used to describe Rjd2's third studio album, The Third Hand, but the one that comes to mind the most often is disappointing. The album finds Rjd2, an accomplished hip-hop producer, completely abandoning his hip-hop foundations. Sampled beats and hot guest rhymes are traded for synths and Rjd2's own singing voice.
This genre shift ought not to come as a surprise, considering how Rjd2's beats have always been deeply rooted in rock and electronic music. He also recently moved away from the rapper El-P's indie hip-hop label Def Jux to the more electronic and progressive XL Records.
The Third Hand blatantly draws its inspiration from '60s psychedelic rock, '70s funk and '90s indie pop, and, like each of these genres, is monotonous and boring. Although a few tracks shine through, namely the banger track "Beyond the Beyond" and the funky "Sweet Piece," the album overall just falls flat.
Life would have been better for everyone if Rjd2 had just stuck to the sound he had mastered and kept making layered, complex, interesting hip-hop albums. And though many ignorant people will admire his efforts and originality, as well as his bravery and weirdness, the fact remains that the album just isn't any good. Rjd2 gets an 'A' for effort, but as we all know, sometimes effort just isn't enough.
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