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Stones Throw: Stones Throw 101

Album: Stones Throw 101
Label: Stones Throw

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There's something endearingly awkward about the on-camera presence of Madlib—a distinct deer-caught-in-headlights-expression that suggests that the rail-thin cult hero would rather be blunted in the basement making music than hamming it up for the camera. Of course, Oxnard, CA's cultishly adored beat conductor tours infrequently and usually hides behind a plethora of disguises, so the new Stones Throw 101 mix-CD/video/ephemera compilation undoubtedly marks the first opportunity that many of Madlib's obsessive fans have had to see him in action. Stones Throw's retro aesthetic fetishizes old-school technology and scratchy, homemade ingenuity, so it won't come as a surprise that the low-fi, sometimes avant-garde videos included here owe more to public access and homemade surrealists than to Hype Williams or MTV.

Videos like Jaylib's "McNasty Filth" aren't afraid to appeal to the lowest common denominator. They indulge in hoary rap-video clichés—a strip-club setting, wriggling backsides, and an abundance of low-rent T&A—but the best videos find the perfect visual equivalent to the mad-genius inventiveness of Madlib's production. The gorgeous animated video for "ALL CAPS" pays loving homage to vintage Marvel comics, while "Come On Feet" offers a woozily hypnotic assemblage of feral-looking, low-rent puppets, the type of felt no-goodniks that Muppets wouldn't want to encounter in a dark alley. But the disc's most poignant feature is "Extra Credit" bonus footage of an impossibly young Charizma—the slain partner of label head Peanut Butter Wolf—performing "Ice Cream Truck" (on his birthday, no less) for a fuzzy, early-'90s Bay Area TV cheesefest called Home Turf. Like the rest of the disc and the label as a whole, the performance showcases an unabashed, geeky exuberance, the infectious joy of people making deeply personal, idiosyncratic music with a minimum of polish and a maximum of passion.