Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Danger Mouse & Black Thought

  • Cheat Codes [BMG, 2022] A

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Cheat Codes [BMG, 2022]
"Whether you're in Paterson or Pakistan," this is to inform you that Tariq Trotter's "skin tone is aubergine," which rhymes with "war machine" because the man remains a battle rapper of the old school. Fine though his three 2018-2020 mixtapes were, this collaboration took longer, aimed higher, and made the most of it. "Between Harry Belafonte and Harry Allen," conscious everyman turned hungry autodidact Black Thought is proud to show off a vocabulary and knowledge base further embellished by verses from the equally down Raekwon, Killer Mike, Joey Bada$$, and A$AP Rocky--all swamped by what we can only hope isn't the last we'll hear from the great lost MF Doom. And Danger Mouse is an equal partner at least, rejecting trap texturalism in an aural universe still overflowing with diverse, hookily beatwise inventions no one thought of before. Do not expect to hear a better-sounding hip-hop record all year. Instead pray it'll inspire or shame others into giving something similar a shot in an aural universe that still has room for it. A