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Top 100 Albums of the Decade: #6 RJD2 - Deadringer

 

Top 100 Albums of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until we unveil our #1 album of the decade!

Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.

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#6 RJD2 - Deadringer

Bleeooaaaauuuhh! It's hard to transcribe the nasty chord that opens up Deadringer, but in English that sound translates to, "my name is RJD2 and I am here to kick your ass." No opener like "The Horror" is as instantly recognizable, bombastic and substantially representative of the opus to follow. And what an opus it is: Deadringer seems allergic to categorization, scuttling as far away from whichever section of the record store you'd be tempted to shelve it in. To call it instrumental hip hop ignores the brilliant half-time crooners like "Smoke and Mirrors" and the shimmering "Work"; shucking it aside as experimental or technically driven brushes aside the straight-up party starters like "Good Times Roll Pt. 2" and the aforementioned "The Horror." Though several producers can jump between styles with ease, it usually seems like that's the whole point of their output – you know, a sort of "look what I can do" musical circus act. Not so with RJD2 – Deadringer's trademark is sheer naturalism, and that's what makes it gold.

Also noteworthy is the confidence dripping from between the bars of every single track. As a debut album, RJD2 didn't pull any punches, angling for tricks and turns and whole mid-song style reversals that seem daring in context. But they never break the album's momentum, and the risk of favoring the unexpected pays off for him. It was a ballsy album, doubly so because it was his first - Deadringer solidified his name as a surging pioneer in the production world. He has carved out enough acclaim to break the top 10 on our artists list, and Deadringer is the masterpiece that propelled him there.

- Phillip Taylor-Parker

Check back tomorrow for the next album! To see the full list of the Top 100 Albums of the Decade, click here.

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