Push Button Objects: Ghetto Blaster

Chocolate Industries, 2003

Ghetto Blaster cover

PBO may not be very prolific, but he certainly can craft a wicked track. First up, “Hustlin” is a perfect example of the classic Chocolate Industries vibe—instrumental hip-hop with some complexity. But almost half of the album consists of tracks with MCs. Cannibal Ox provides creative lyrics over a funky break on “Fly.” Likewise, “3 Doctors” succeeds thanks to original rhymes and slick production. Wrapping up the first LP, “Breaker’s Delight” is another fine instrumental with crunchy beats, vocal snippets, and even a hint of electro synths. It all comes together to form a brooding, gritty tech-hop masterpiece.

My favorite section of the album is Side C. “Air” is a dark mix of swirling chords and vocal snippets. The gravelly vocals fit in perfectly. “Sleep” sounds a bit like old-school DJ Vadim, with a repeated sample, a simple beat, and a melodic break. Unfortunately on the flip side, Aesop Rock once again fails to amuse. Thankfully, “Washington Ave” provides much-needed closure.

It seems a lot of hip-hop-inspired bedroom musicians long to be producers, but I still enjoy their instrumental tracks the most. At least PBO maintains a decent balance between rap and more abstract pursuits.

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1 Comment

Very strong album. PBO shows that he can be considered one of the leading producers in straight up hiphop, if he wants to. Hustlin' starts the disc off strong and never really looks back, with 360 degrees, 3 doctors and washington avenue being the highlites. As much as I like this album, I truly hope this was just a showcase of what PBO can do with more straight up HipHop. Even though there is a pretty good balance here I would much prefer a further lean to his more electronic productions while retaining some vocalists and keeping the hiphop vibe, like edgar knows how.