Girl Talk's new album Broken Ankles, a collab with the rapper Freeway, can be downloaded at DatPiff.
Free always sounded too frantic to really be having fun. And party music is all Girl Talk does. So how was this going to work?
Really well, it turns out! At six tracks, Broken Ankles lasts just under half an hour, which turns out to be just the right amount of time for both of these guys, whose respective styles can wear thin at album length. And Gillis tweaks his style just enough to bring Freeway into his world without forcing Free to become an entirely different sort of rapper. Gillis certainly piles on the samples on Broken Ankles, as you can see from this partial list of artists sampled. But the whole shock-of-recognition thing that drives his solo work is way less of a factor here; if you can pick out the Add (N) To X or Iannis Xenakis samples, go ahead and award yourself a best-listener medal. Instead, he’s taken these pieces of music and crafted them into actual songs, slowing his sound down to midtempo and stripping it back enough that it won’t get in Free’s way without really losing intensity. On a track like “I Can Hear Sweat,” there’s a ton going on: Busy drums, Nine Inch Nails synth riff, buzzing bass, great little sonar blips on the hook. But all that activity never becomes the center of attention, except maybe on the non-rapped chorus. It’s a cluttered but effective rap beat, and it never distracts from Jadakiss’s absolutely cold-blooded guest verse or from the oddly endearing and goofy moment where Free says something about “reading books by Tom Sawyer.”