Single Review: Madlib – Hopprock
Will Thornton reviews Madlib’s latest single ‘Hopprock’
Hopprock is the latest single by legendary hip-hop producer Madlib, and his first release since the announcement of the also-legendary rapper MF DOOM’s passing. This is something hard to shy away from when listening to Hopprock, as both Madlib and DOOM were famous collaborators with each other, and produced the universally-revered album Madvillainy together in 2004. ‘Hopprock’ is another collaborative effort from the producer, with Madlib this time working alongside British electronic musician Four Tet – the pair are also slated to release an album together in January of which this single will be a part of: Sound Ancestors.
one of Madlib’s trademark jazz-infused beats
‘Hopprock’ opens with a variety of dreamy and pastoral instruments, playing over each other creating a luscious and very relaxing soundscape for the listener to bathe in, before a brief vocal interlude plays over the music, and the song soon transitions into one of Madlib’s trademark jazz-infused beats. The instrumental track plays out for the rest of the song’s runtime, and for a long-term Madlib fan it’s an extremely pleasant listen. The drum track of the song works in perfect coordination with the bass and guitar lines, and the various dreamy vocals scattered around the track give the song a vibrant and whimsical atmosphere, overall making it a very pleasant and relaxing track to listen to. This track has left me very optimistic for Madlib and Four Tet’s upcoming album, and being a big fan of his previous instrumental album Shades of Blue, I can only assume that Sound Ancestors is going to be another great Madlib project.
Turning back to MF DOOM briefly as I finish, ‘Hopprock’ makes me wonder if Sound Ancestors will feature any sort of reference to the passing of the legendary MC (whether in vocals, samples, or something much more subtle), because, at any rate, above all else ‘Hopprock’ has a very transcendental quality, and it’s hard not to think about what kind of effect DOOM’s passing would have had on his long-term collaborator and friend. I can even find myself imagining DOOM rapping over this song – it would be a perfect fit for the two artists who worked so well together in the past. Although with the announcement that a Madvillainy sequel may be on its way, perhaps this isn’t something I’ll have to imagine for much longer.