Hip-hop was very much defined by its two sects at the dawn of the century. It was east coast or west coast, and you had to choose your side. Not many dared to bring the two together, yet some of the more ambitious rappers definitely made an effort. Madvillain made a statement about society in Madvillainy while combining two opposing sides of a split genre into one.
The sound of Madvillainy is very important. MF DOOM brings a west coast delivery to the west coast beats provided by Madlib. From beginning to end, the blend comes together in very smooth ways; you look at the end of the record on tracks like 'Great Day,' its bluesy and jazzy beat under the eastern delivery style really gives it its moody atmosphere before 'Rhinestone Cowboy' ends it off with a slam against the state of the online music scene, and then you look at the earlier tracks like 'Meat Grinder' and you can tell there's a clear progression going on, though it does generally stay around the same idea.
Madvillainy isn't quite as impactful as it would hope to be. It's a solid record, yet the problem is that its quality, like much of east and west-based hip-hop back in the early decade, depends on the way the lyrics and the instrumentals go together. A personal gripe with east-coast rap is that it really zones in on making a lot of statements without much backing it, and west-coast rap has more expressive instrumentals. As Madlib tries to make the instrumentals as charged as the lyrics while matching MF DOOM's quietly angry delivery, things just end up sounding a bit dull. Nothing is dynamic after the first few tracks, and though the messages are clearly there, there are no moments where everything comes together effectively.
Madvillain made a statement about society in Madvillainy, but failed to really tie is all together with cohesion. The messages are strong and the blending of east and west coast rap styles is interesting, but it didn't come together as nicely as they had hoped. Still, it was a stepping stone for rap to come and helped usher the genre into a new era independent of coasts and centralized it.
Favorite Track: Rainbows
Least Favorite Track: America's Most Blunted
Rating: 67 / 100
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