This Time (I'm Gonna Try It My Way)
Seein' Thangs (Featuring David Banner)
Broken Levee Blues
Triplicate / Something Happened That Day
The Outsider, a bewildering array of thumping, proudly synthetic hyphy, clearly quantized soft-rock loops, and lonesome, soulful ballads, is decidedly unlike anything Shadow has ever released as a solo artist — a source of disappointment and even outrage in some quarters. But though The Outsider finds Shadow abandoning the dust choked turntablism that made him famous, it also finds him return to first principles. Shadow first made his name in the early ‘90s Bay Area hip-hop scene producing shuddering boom-bap for Paris and Zimbabwe Legit, and he sounds happy to be working with challenging MCs again. There’s a palpable joy in the trunk rattling roar of tracks like “Turf Dancing”, and “3 Freaks” that was sorely lacking in Shadow’s last record, the excellent, but somewhat formulaic Private Press. His collaborations with Southern and Bay Area MCs give The Outsider its lone masterpiece, the staggering “Seein’ Thangs”, maybe the most cogent and uncompromising take on Hurricane Katrina that Hip-Hop has yet produced. Much of the rest of The Outsider feels unfocussed and though some of the experiments, such as the soulful “This Time”, succeed admirably, you can't help wanting more of the hardcore hip-hop Shadow seems so happy to have returned to.