Black Keys Hip Hop Project: Good Thing or Great Thing?

Black Keys Hip Hop Project: Good Thing or Great Thing?
James Carney

We may be a day or so behind on this one, but in a quest to find some ever-elusive liner note credits for Black Key's Thickfreakness album, we stumbled onto something a hundred times better. Up until now, things were staying pretty quiet on the whole "rap-rock" front, at least for the summer. Turns out BlakRoc, a musical collaboration between the Keys and some of hip hop's living legends has been brewing since June. The record comes out Nov. 27. Needless to say, we dropped the liner note search to look into this...and was not disappointed whatsoever.

For staunch fans of stripped down soul and rock-n-roll, it may come as a surprise that Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, two Ohio-bred white guys, would ever cross paths with rap mogul Damon Dash for any reason, unless they bumped into each other at Starbucks or something. But whatever forces brought them together, it definitely seems to have worked out for the best, judging by what little I've heard of this 11 track album featuring 11 revered MCs and one very talented songstress: Mos Def, Noe, Q-Tip, Ol' Dirty Bastard (obviously samples of his early work, pre-death), RZA, Jim Jones, Nicole Wray, Ludacris, Raekwon, Pharaoh Monch, and Billy Danze.

But some skeptics of genre collusion--especially one that seems to have been done a million times--may wonder if the two worlds will water each other down. Those opinions are out there, they always are. Yet, it's hard to argue that stance when you hear the heavy thump, soul and laid back lyrical swagger at work in BlakRoc's first single "Hoochie Coochie" featuring the mighty Mos (Brooklyn's best rap-rock alchemist) and Jim Jones. In many ways, the fact that this album is sure to be a one-off experiment instead of some touring super group is a sign that the Keys and their MCs have truly focused on artistic collaboration. Even those who are a little gun shy after Jay-Z's Hybrid Theory with Lincoln Park (admit it, you bought that shit), you have to admit that this project is in a whole 'nother ball park. Want proof? First check out the short trailer of the album teaser below, then move on to BlakRoc's website for the full-length video trailer.

BlakRoc Teaser:

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