Following a couple of albums – and a handful of singles – in the early 2000s Madlib put his Quasimoto character to rest. The side-project featured a pitched-up vocal, similar to Prince’s Camille alter-ego with a hint of the Gorillaz about the project too – an animated character, attempting to exist in its own space, leaving Madlib to remix and remake and create anew across jazz samples and broken-beat soul.
Those Quas albums were fun. Those Quas albums are fun – and though this return to the sound and world of Quasimoto is in fact (essentially) a set of leftovers, it’s a welcome return; a welcome reminder of the slick-groove cartoon fun that was had, that helium-and-weed voiceover a commentator on the music as much as it’s ever a participator. Some of the tracks feel like snippets (Youngblood), but in that way that Madlib has often his leftovers are better than another person’s finished product. And so it is with great chunks of Yessir Whatever.
It’s not a replacement for The Unseen or The Further Adventures of Lord Quas but in many ways it’s as satisfying – it is a continuation, even if the music here jumps around across the decade, beats and pieces that predate The Unseen and arrive just after Further Adventures.
Madlib coasting is still Madlib boasting – because he’s done the work. So much work. And when he cleans out his closet that’s usually good enough. That’s certainly the case here – even with dusty old samples and scratches this never sounds like it has dated badly, there’s afresh vibe, a cool charm, just enough of a slick (well actually often it’s very raw) feeling.
Some of the best hip-hop of the year for me. But then I was always a sucker for the Quasimoto sound.