At first glance of the cover for RJD2’s latest album, my first thoughts were “Maggot Brain” and “Dare Iz a Darkside”. Visual homage to Funkadelic and Redman notwithstanding, the funk-driven sound of the album opener, “Cold Eggs”, gives the album an immediate aural nod to both as well. With “Visions Out of Limelight”, the Ohio-raised producer shows his mastery of the studio as he provides listeners with a mix of samples and live instrumentals that are blended so seamlessly that it’s difficult to tell which sounds can be attributed to which source. With “Cold Eggs”, RJ starts off with reversed sounds before giving way to a full-fledged composition of horns, drums, bass, and cowbells.

Next up is “Catch the Exit Door”, where RJ employs different snares (with the appropriate hi-hats) than the intro track. He also makes use of melodic organs in what would be the hook section of this instrumental. There’s a psychedelia to the piano notes on “Through It All”, which is layered with airy soulful vocals courtesy of English singer Jamie Lidell. “What I Do, Man” takes its inspiration from an ‘80s mix of hip-hop and TV themes and could easily fit completely right in with the latter. “Es El Nuevo Estilo” is a straightforward hip-hop sound: Drums, bass, a synth sample, and generally what I can envision a rapper’s vocals being on top of:



“Resting on the One” has just as much of a head-nodding bop to it as it does cinematic overtones, like an urban ‘70s drama. On “Fools on the Haul”, RJ makes use of acoustic drums, with mellow vocals from Jordan Brown before the tempo briefly picks up with electric instruments, mainly guitars. “Wild for the Night” gives exactly that kind of impression, turning up for a night on the town with fast-paced drums, record scratching, and layered samples. For “Another Dime From Messoud” begins with a simple drum and bass before ultimately becoming defined by multiple melodic synths.

For the remaining third of the album, the military school-sounding “Apocalypse March” starts it off with its multi-tracked snares before shifting entirely into a soulful funk number. “A Real Screamer” has tones reminiscent of RJ’s EP “The Horror” while “Full Time Move, Jack” is a clever interpolation of Ice Cube’s famous lyric as the track sounds as though it was jacked from Maroon 5. “Asphalt Lamentations” closes the album, so solidified in its wistful sounds that it could easily be re-titled “Concrete Regrets”. “Visions Out of Limelight” is not “deadringer”, that’s RJD2’s own beatsmith opus that he’ll never top. While the sounds are interestingly varied, the vocals are relegated to just two soul singers. Honestly, they should’ve been substituted with rappers.


RJD2 :: Visions Out of Limelight
7.5Overall Score