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Dead Ringer

4.4 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 23, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

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RJD2 creates music that's not easy to pin down, though everyone seems to try. The Columbus, Ohio-based DJ-producer explores the same basic formula used by DJ Shadow and Moby, but his style is more complex and, refreshingly, a hell of a lot less pretentious. Less bass-heavy than Shadow's 1996 release, Endtroducing... (the album it's often compared to), Deadringer showcases RJD2's master ability to layer unusual samples with complex drum patterns, funky grooves, and original vocals. The '50s horror movie-sampled "The Horror" starts things off on the grunge tip and then the album's sound progresses into straight-up hip-hop, break beats, rock & roll, blues, and more. Songs like the Jimi Hendrix-influenced "Smoke and Mirrors" and the honky-tonk soulfulness of "2 More Dead" up the ante, demonstrating just how far the trip-hop genre has progressed since the mid-'90s. One of the most enjoyable albums of the year, Deadringer is an essential addition to your listening library. --Rebecca Levine

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Horror
  2. Salud
  3. Smoke and Mirrors
  4. Good Times Roll Pt. 2
  5. Final Frontier
  6. Ghostwriter
  7. Cut Out to FL
  8. F.H.H.
  9. Shot in the Dark
  10. Chicken-Bone Circuit
  11. The Proxy
  12. 2 More Dead
  13. Take the Picture Off
  14. Silver Fox
  15. June
  16. Work


Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 23, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Definitive Jux
  • ASIN: B000068QSF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,285 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's RJD2 Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I bought this album largely because of the positive buzz that has surrounded it, and because in the past I've found that dj's from non-coastal areas can be less pretentious and a hell of a lot more fun than their counterparts. So why not a dj from the Rust Belt?
The comparison it most often draws is with DJ Shadow's Endtroducing. The reason is clear, given the complexity of the arrangements and the "soundscape" quality to a lot of the tracks. However, this album is both less intense and less eclectic than that milestone. Which isn't necessarily bad-- just different. rjd2's tracks tend to be more funk-oriented and less bass-heavy. Normally that would be a strike against it for me. I may generally prefer the dark, urban stuff, but this album works brilliantly. Effective sampling and just enough turntable trickery to please (well, almost enough) make this album (like Endtroducing) consistently good from start to finish. It's good to see that the "DJ-as-artist" trend is alive and well. This album should help convince some doubters that it's worthwhile musical terrain.
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Format: Audio CD
I discovered this CD in a local music store. I had never heard of RJD2. I picked this CD up on a whim and was very pleased with it. I have been a fan of Moby, DJ Shadow and all of the other DJ's and producers that RJ has been associated and compared to. With that being said, RJ sounds NOTHING like Moby. There are some tiny similarites, but they are not in the same class of style or genius. DJ Shadow and RJ don't really sound anything alike, at all. I don't see the comparison.

Being a producer/music creator myself(not a DJ), I can appreciate the style and creative force that RJD2 wields like an iron sceptor. Each song is crafted and laid out with tight beats and awesome production. All of the reviews on this spot seem to classify RJ as this or that. WEll, to be honest, he has his own style, RJ style. It sounds like no one else.

RJ seems to enjoy using samples, but his creative energy shines forth. This album is more "hip hop" oriented,, even featuring a few emcees who rock the mic right. I love this cd and I would recommend it to all who enjoy tight beats.
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Format: Audio CD
RJD2's music is a collage of cut-and-paste hip-hop that combines
disparate elements to make for soulful, moody portraits of the
world. Born in Eugene, OR, on May 27, 1976, he moved to Columbus,
OH, a few years later and was raised there. He first busted out onto
the hip-hop scene in 1998 -- a time when producers were emerging
from the shadows to seize the spotlight -- as the DJ/producer for
the Columbus-based group Megahertz. MHz had two 12" singles released
on Bobbito Garcia's Fondle 'Em Records and the group was mentioned
in Vibe Magazine's "History of Hip Hop."
In 2000, RJD2 produced Copywrite's debut single, "Holier Than Thou,"
on Rawkus Records. In the spring of 2001, he made his first formal
appearance as a solo artist on the Def Jux Presents... compilation,
proving he could hold his own alongside such luminaries as Company
Flow, El-P, Cannibal Ox, and Aesop Rock. RJD2's debut album, Dead
Ringer, followed on Def Jux in 2002. One of the best underground hip-
hop releases of the year, it melded dirty samples and a classic
approach to song structure for an end result that gave DJ Shadow, DJ
Spooky, and Moby a run for their money.
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Format: Audio CD
Most of what I think about this exceptional album has already been said by other reviewers, but I didn't see any mention of the secret song at the end of the album (maybe I just didn't read enough reviews). At any rate, about two minutes after the last track has ended, a hidden track will play. It is, in my opinion, one of RJD2's greatest cuts. Be sure to check it out.
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Format: Audio CD
Let's get the requisite DJ Shadow comparison out of the way - shall we? Both RJD2 and DJ Shadow construct their musical compositions out of samples and both have the ability to fashion a very atmosphere/mood heavy piece. We'll leave it at that and just say that "Dead Ringer" was what "Private Press" should have been but wasn't. Also forget what you've heard about the Definitive Jux label - you might be turned off by the other chaotic dense sonic landscapes of producers of El-P or the bleak New York rhymes of Cannibal Ox that were touted so much last year and this, but "Dead Ringer" is a looser and funkier album - unafraid to strut its head-shaking grooves down the walkway like a hip-hop model wearing a chic colorful patchwork coat. The album kicks your teeth in right from the start with "The Horror" - which sounds like a blunt-smoking Snoop Dogg West Coast vibe set on reverb with a B-movie giddiness. It builds and deconstructs itself like Lego construction on a speed rush. "Smoke and Mirrors" marries an old long-forgotten voice from the historical vinyl annals with a beat - much like the Moby fixation - except it's funner than anything Moby's done lately. (read: 18?!?) "Good Times Roll Pt. 2" is that "feel-good" song, over rhythmic drums, fiesta sounds fire off, as an announcer cries out "Part two are you ready?" finished by the cheers of children. That's before it breaks out into an all out freakfest with scratching. The straight-up hip-hop songs like "Final Frontier" featuring Blueprint and "F.H.H." feat Jakki the Motormouth set the rest of the instrumentals in welcome relief. But the finest moment on the record is "Ghostwriter" which flips a Elliott Smith sample and speeds it up. (Recognize it?Read more ›
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