Local Wire

Guilty Simpson

Ode to the Ghetto is Guilty Simpson's debut LP, but independent hip-hop heads will be familiar with the cocksure delivery from this Detroit-raised affiliate of the late J Dilla. Check "Clap Your Hands" from the Chrome Children comp for an airtight testimony of a guest spots-heavy résumé, or even beatmaker/emcee Black Milk's standout "Sound the Alarm" for the expectedly slick drop-in from Guilty. Ode's production load went to these notably adept cronies (J Dilla, Black Milk, Madlib, Oh No, and D-12's Mr. Porter take credit here), while threat-peddling ("Robbery") and disappointing sexist complaints — even about an evidently innocent partner ("She Won't Stay at Home") — are at the forefront. Guilty's animosity shouldn't surprise his admirers, because he's carried an anvil-sized chip on his shoulder since his warpath on Jaylib's "Strapped," and "underground" doesn't always mean "friendly." But his passenger seat commentary on Ode is just as prominent: terse and spirited observations over Madlib's rattling "Pigs" rhythm (which doubles as "Freeze" on the producer's Beat Konducta in India [Vol. 3-4]) and Black Milk's melodic "The Real Me" backdrop should snag Guilty some indie ascendance if his colorful drop-in list hasn't already done the job.
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Dominic Umile