Guilty Simpson grew up among the car manufacturers, and the Motown history of Detroit. What he, in turn, brought to Detroit Rock City was a nice satchel of noise. Simpson has ambition, and a lot of thought goes toward his production, rhymes and beats. Still, with all this work, with all of this effort, he still manages to miss the mark.
With the release of Ode to the Ghetto, Guilty Simpson is ushered into the family of one of my favorite hip-hop labels—Stones Throw. Simpson finds himself among the ranks of Madlib, J Dilla, Peanut Butter Wolf and Madvillian, and, in my opinion, Guilty Simpson has a lot of catching up to do, to be in the same vicinity of the other artists mentioned. To be honest, highly manufactured crunk beats of Simpson’s variety are not my favorite sounds to have come out of hip-hop. Nor is the process of looping beats over and over with a highly priced effects machine. Give me a homemade loop effect from a 4-track mixer, contrived from someone’s basement, or garage any day.
I don’t doubt for a second this album would do great in a club where typical crunk can, and does, get by. It possesses the heavy rotated beats, and aggressive and/or erotic language of many a mainstream player out there. Perhaps I am getting tired of the typical misogynistic rapping with graphic sexual references galore. I think all that laid-on-thick sex stuff, could age just fine, like most of hip-hop’s extremes do, once potential audiences are a few scene generations removed from it. I mean, lots of hoodlums back in the day weren’t into Run D.M.C., but look at them now—it all worked out in back catalogue land. So who am I to doubt Guilty Simpson’s coolness? I might not love this album now, but in years to come, who is to say? In the meantime, I won’t be mining this album for daily anthems anytime soon.