Karriem Riggins - "Ooooaaaa"
(Alone Together; 2012)
By my count, there are essentially five notches on the evolutionary chart of producer-driven hip-hop albums. The elite quintet includes 1) Marley Marl's In Control Vol 1, 2) Kid Capri's 52 Beats, 3) Pete Rock's Soul Survivor, 4) Madlib's Beat Konducta In India and 5) Alchemist's Russian Roulette. The third and fourth iterations are revamped interpretations of the first and second, respectively. The fifth and final genetic leap is an aggregate of the its forebears. Karriem Riggin's latest beat tape, Alone Together, certainly isn't going to advance that paradigm. Like most instrumental projects released in the wake of J Dilla's untimely death, the album serves as little more than a neutered Donuts spin-off. Karriem is a talented producer, as evident by the 74th installment of Stones Throw's podcast series dedicated to his freelance credits for a litany of Okayplayers. So it's disappointing to learn that a handful of the beats packaged with Alone Together are genuinely phenomenal pieces of music that could make for great records in the hands of an even marginally competent rapper.