Blending rap, electro, hip hop, funk and spaghetti alt-guitar wonder in the same 3:15 confines is no easy effort to land well, but the solid chunk that is Nobody Speak from DJ Shadow featuring Run The Jewels manages to make it sound like it was always meant to be. Its the perfect storm of fusion and sets the shaded spinner up for a big album release when The Mountain Will Fall lands on the 24th June 2016.
The lyrics are hilarious to the extent that it’s well worth investing in some ginkgo biloba, cod liver oil tabs and a Red Bull mainline drip to give you the Limitless-inspired focus to take them all in. It takes sub-seconds to land with frightening levels of genius wit and it keeps the barrage firing right the way through to the end of the track.
Run The Jewels name check everything from Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts massive to the glory of Funyuns. Donald Trump gets a little boot treatment along the way, which is always a welcome interjection and it all leads into the overriding comic intent of the song with as much self-deprecation as there is lampoon loops. The hip hop supergroup – made up of New York-based rapper and producer El-P and Atalnta hailing rapper Killer Mike – hit the nail dead centre like the re-incarnated spirit of Pat Morita armed with Thor’s hammer and a bag of Scooby Snacks.
All of it is propped up by the rumbling tank that is the bass and beats interplay that underpins the single, but instead of taking comfort in the thick of the trench, DJ Shadow flicks switches like he’s working at a NASA comms station. As a result there’s everything from guitar flick breakdowns to horn blasts and Afro-beats shuffles to give Nobody Speak Kafka-esque nuances.
If that isn’t enough to hold your attention, he also blends in some brilliant electronica, and while its fleeting, it always makes for a smart interjection. It’s got flecks of Rendezvous’ The Murf, but on a smaller scale and it’s impressive how well that goes within the rap and hip hop mix.
Nobody Speak is a sharp new single that we’ll be spinning for a long time. It makes for a monolithic track with great lyrics, clubbing beats and a whole lot of fusion to set DJ Shadow and Run The Jewels up as one of the best mash-ups of the year to-date.
DJ Shadow Featuring Run The Jewels, Nobody Speak single review: 4.2/5