Feature

BlakRoc: BlakRoc

Damon Dash and his MC buddies have paired up with the Black Keys to mix rap with rock music.

(Nonesuch)

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Mixing rap with rock music has always been tricky, said Nick Neyland in BBC.com. The Beastie Boys and Run DMC were among the first to blend “giant riffs with ingenious rhymes,” but few acts have matched their success. Believing he knows what it takes, Roc-A-Fella co-founder Damon Dash convinced his MC buddies to pair up with blues revivalists the Black Keys to create BlakRoc. On their eponymous album, RZA, Mos Def, and even Ol’ Dirty Bastard (from beyond the grave) throw down over the Black Keys’ ominous drums and gritty, squalling electric guitar. For the most part, the record is a “compelling and welcoming rejoining of the rap and rock worlds.” Mos Def’s liquid voice flows freely above “On the Vista’s” bluesy bass line, said Dan Cairns in the London Times. RZA and Pharoahe Monch’s rhymes dominate the tremolo guitar of “Dollaz and Sense.” Even when a song doesn’t work, this album still “reawakens you” to how much rock and rap have to offer each other.

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