From rock artists to athletes just about every type of person has given Hip Hop a try; some more successfully than others. Many drop rap albums with out spitting a single syllable, possibly producing a track or two, but really it is just something to put their name on. And then there’s [twitter=TravisBarker]Travis Barker[/twitter], who has continually contributed to Hip Hop while having no rap skills of his own. Rising to fame as the drummer of Blink-182, it was not long before Barker made his Hip Hop roots apparent with the now infamous ”Travis Barker Remixes” of popular rap and R&B songs. Since then he’s teased the release of his own album, preluding with the impressive Let the Drummer Get Wicked, a mixtape with almost completely original material. So is Travis just using the talents of others to reach another group of listeners, or has he introduced a new style to a dynamic art?
With no rhymes of his own on the tracks, one would expect Travis to put forth a tremendous production effort, which he does brilliantly producing every track himself. Without compromising the flow and integrity of the album, he finds way to fit each artist’s style featured on each track. ”Jump Down” has a classic Cool Kids feel and ”If You Want To” has Pharrell written all over it (and would fit perfectly on Lasers). If you are expecting the tracks to sound like his Remixes you will be surprised to hear the drums are not overbearing or dominate the track but rather work like the real drums Dre uses in his production (but with a much more talented drummer). As Barker promised, not all tracks are of the Hip Hop genre. ”Misfits” is an electro-metal song reminding me of Static X’s ”Love Dump.” ”On My Own” featuring Corey Taylor, the lead singer of Slipknot and Stone Sour, would fit on any Stone Sour album while ”Saturday Night” featuring Slash, on the other hand, has a chill, surfer rock sound.
As one would expect from an album with by a drummer, the lyrics aren’t exactly mind blowing. However, calling this a non-lyrical album would be misleading. While it may not be the highlight of any of the featured MCs’ career, each artist brings their best for Travis. The Slaughterhouse track ”Devil’s Got a Hold of Me “ provides what we’ve come to expect from the super group (and is probably the first track in which I think Joell had the best part. Joey kills it too). Of course Lupe delivers on ”If You Want To” and both Clipse and Kobe (he’s going to take the Hook King Crown now that Nate has passed, R.I.P.) do their thing on ”City of Dreams.” My personal favorite is Tech N9ne on ”Raw Shit.” Bun B does his thing but Tech shows again why hes the most under appreciated MC in the game. Not every track will have you hitting the rewind button but there are definitely some quotable lines throughout the album.
With such a diverse cast of features and beats, one would expect the content to be the same. Barker shows his skill in not just picking good beats but also in picking the right artist(s) for each song. It would have been easy for Travis to put together a bunch of cypher or ”Swagga Like Us” -esque and radio friendly tracks, but instead Barker keeps the subject matter as diverse as the other aspects of the album. There’s the fast rapper track ”Lets Go” with Busta, Twista and YelaWolf and the self-explanatory ”Dont Fuck With Me” featuring Jay Rock, Kurupt and Barker’s fellow Expensive Taste member Paul Wall. Other highlights include ”Cool Head” with Cudi and perhaps the best song of the album (definitely my favorite) ”Just Chill” featuring Bun B, Beanie Sigel and Kobe this track is simply amazing. Hitting on personal struggle and a fuck the world attitude all 3 artists give exceptional performances (even inspired me to look into Sigel’s catalog). There are very few tracks you’ll skip through.
While it may not have the lyricism or success of Lasers or the content of Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang, Give the Drummer Some is one of the best, and possibly the most entertaining, albums of 2011 thus far. With a little something for all Hip Hop tastes, every Hip Hop Head should make this a part of their collection. I would have liked to see Eminem on a track, but hopefully Travis continues to dabble in Hip Hop because he has yet to make bad material. If I had to pick a low point it would be Ross on ”Can a Drummer Get Some?” ”Beat Goes On” featuring Cypress Hill (not a track Cypress should have been on), and RZA rapping on ”Carry It” (although Tom Morello with Barker is pretty dope). So do yourself a favor and download Let the Drummer Get Wicked and then go buy a copy of Give the Drummer Some and support the second best white boy in Hip Hop today. I think it’s about time we gave the drummer his.
You can purchase Travis Barker’s Give The Drummer Some on iTunes here.
Review By Villan.