• JJ DOOM - Key to the Kuffs

JJ Doom – Key to the Kuffs

Album Review

Album title: Key to the Kuffs
Artist: JJ Doom
Label: Lex Records
Release date: 21 Aug
Bram Gieben | 31 Jul 2012

Rapper / producer Omar Gilyard's two LPs under the Jneiro Jarel moniker were mercurial, genre-bending experiences taking in broken beat, electronic influences and roots music. With support from LA's Low End Theory club night, the proving ground for the likes of Flying Lotus and Samiyam, he's become a well-respected figure on the fringes of hip-hop, making him an ideal collaborator for alt. rap phenomenon DOOM.

On Key to the Kuffs, the beats are dusty and psychedelic – GMO, featuring Beth Gibbons of Portishead revolves around choppy acoustic guitar and cinematic strings, while Damon Albarn's appearance on Bite The Thong is backed with a FlyLo-esque stuttering beat, half-heard film samples and custom-distressed organ loops. DOOM is on top form, with his tripped-out narratives evoking pulp fiction, comic-book supervillains, and (now he's returned to his birthplace of London) snatches of old-fashioned cockney patter. It's a strange brew, and not every experiment works. A surreal, self-consciusly lo-fi, hallucinatory gumbo, and as such, an acquired taste – but an interesting union.