Whether it be releasing albums on labels including Definitive Jux, XL, Fondle ‘Em, Eastern Conference, or now his own label, RJ’s Electrical Connections, producing music by Diverse, Acelayone, and Dice Raw, remixing artists including Massive Attack, Mos Def, Fallout Boy, Cannibal Ox, Booker T, Polyphonic Spree, or releasing albums as Soul Position, RJD2 (aka RJ or Ramble Krohn) has been remarkably inventive and productive in creating music throughout his ten year career. And of course, this doesn’t include the work RJ has done for various television shows, including CSI, and Mad Men (for which he won his first award, ASCAP’s Best TV Theme), films, including Wimbledon and Freedomland, and commercials for brands including Saturn, ESPN, Lion’s Gate, Levi’s, Nike, and more. Throughout this constant influx of studio work, RJ has toured the world and traversed the continental US yearly, most recently with a full band. No matter the outlet throughout this decade, the goal for RJD2 has always been the same – to make a piece of music that is going to hopefully rearrange one’s brain, or at least provide some relief from real life for a moment or two. With his newest album, The Colossus, RJD2 manages to do it once again, perpetually looking forward with a clear reverence for the past.
The Colossus is RJD2’s fourth album, and the first he’ll release on his own label. In addition to re-acquiring the master recordings of his Definitive Jux catalog in its entirety and re-releasing them, this new label marks a huge step for RJ as being completely independent and working on his own terms, artistically and business-wise.
As RJ’s last album, The Third Hand, was his first truly solo album, with no guest performances whatsoever and very little sampling, he decided to move in the opposite direction on The Colossus and create an album that is as collaborative as possible, while also being an “overview” of all the different types of working approaches RJ has used over the years. Some songs are strictly sample-based; some are live; some songs are completely instrumental while others are vocal songs, some featuring guest vocalists, with RJ taking on the duty in others; he brought a few rappers on board, as well. It was all tracked at the same time and in the same place, which gives the album a cohesive feel, but it also manages to retain the diversity throughout that has become a trademark for RJD2. The Colossus features Phonte Coleman (Little Brother, Foreign Exchange), Kenna (Star Trak, VA Beach), Aaron Livingston (The Roots’ Guns Are Drawn), Columbus MC’s The Catalyst, Illogic, NP, and a slew of instrumentalists. Additionally, it marks RJ’s debut behind the drum kit.
The Colossus, out January 19, 2010 on RJ’s Electrical Connections, is RJD2’s most sonically lush and varied record he’s ever created. It is a kaleidoscopic look forward, as well as back.
01. Let There Be Horns
02. Games You Can Win (Featuring Kenna)
03. Giant Squid
04. Salud 2
05. The Glow
06. A Spaceship For Now
07. The Shining Path (Featuring Phonte Coleman)
08. Crumbs Off The Table (Featuring Aaron Livingston)
09. A Son’s Cycle (Featuring The Catalyst, Illogic, and NP)
10. Tin Flower (Featuring Heather Fortune)
11. Small Plans
12. Gypsy Caravan
13. The Stranger
14. Walk With Me