The first time I heard RJD2's name uttered I laughed and thought to myself "I'll avoid this." I like to think of myself as open minded, but with the supposed "Star Wars" influence (a movie I've never been able to get into) - I couldn't help but throw up my guard. This just re-affirms the overly spoken about concept of "not judging a book by its cover" or something along those lines at least. Now, due to the fact that I know Copywrite, I had no choice but to check out RJD2's production by listening to "June." From there on end, my appreciation for his work was set in stone.
As RJD2 continued throwing out gems left and right, the odd 45 - "Rain" (which I'm thoroughly annoyed didn't appear on this release), "Two More Dead" etc. the salivating for 'Dead Ringer' became more extreme. The hype surrounding the release became fairly extreme from fans. Def Jux didn't post up a billion posters to promote the release, all that was needed was one fan to play an RJ release to a group of friends and the draw was instant.
From the first track 'The Horror' onwards, the listener is surrounded by a beautifully concocted surreal environment (provided the volume is loud enough that is). The beats are brilliant, samples thrown in at the exact right time and brilliance perfectly established. The music assembled here is done in such a slick manner, that you're able to be emotionally dictated depending on the song. Happiness, excitement and an adrenaline rush you can't help but feel through 'Good Times Roll Pt. 2.' The aforementioned 'June' throws you into an empathetic, somber mood due to both RJD2's powerful beat and Copywrite's rhymes. The soulful 'Work' sends you into a relaxed mood, bringing a grin to your face at the same time.
The majority of the album is strictly dope beats with samples from older records or older media (such as television shows or movies), but there are a few tracks with actual guests. The Soul Position (RJD2 and Blueprint) provide us with the brilliant 'Final Frontier.' As a duo, these two artists click seamlessly. And, none other than my boy Jakki Da Motamouth is featured upon 'F.H.H.'(Fuck Hip Hop), in which Jakki talks about protesting against today's hip hop, expressing his views against conformity and rappers who only appear to be talented over great production.
'Dead Ringer' is an exceptional debut instrumental album. If this album doesn't send RJD2 to the highest heights an artist can achieve (worldwide respect and the cash to accompany it), there's something wrong with the world we live in. Buy this album, now!