The Outsider features collaborations with Q-Tip, Keak Da Sneak, Turf Talk, Kasabian, Chris James from Stateless, and David Banner amongst others and comes four years after Shadow’s universally acclaimed previous album “The Private Press”, the long-awaited follow-up to his seminal debut set “Entroducing…”.
Speaking about “The Outsider” on his website djshadow.com, Shadow had this to say : “There’s been a lot of speculation as to the vibe of the new album. The album is very diverse, and reflects the fact that I don’t fit comfortably in any one genre. My critics see that as a problem, but I don’t…it’s simply the way things are. I’ve never really fit into any one clique".
He continued, "That’s why the album is called The Outsider. In some ways it’s a risky record. It’s going to turn some people off. And I think I’ll lose some fans.
On the other hand, I know I’ll gain some new ones. That’s a fair trade in my mind. Besides I can’t see playing it safe at this point in my life".
01. Outsider Intro
02. This Time (I’m Gonna Try It My Way)
03. 3 Freaks ft. Da Sneak & Turf Talk
04. Droop-E Drop
05. Turf Dancing ft. The Federation & Animaniaks
06. Keep Em Close ft. Nump
07. Seein Thangs ft. David Banner
08. Broken Levee Blues
09. Artifact [Instrumental]
10. Backstage Girl ft. Phonte Coleman
11. Triplicate / Something Happened That Day
12. The Tiger ft. Sergio Pizzorno & Christopher Karloff
13. Erase You ft. Chris James
14. What Have I Done ft. Christina Carter
15. You Made It ft. Chris James
16. Enuff ft. Q-Tip & Lateef The Truth Speaker
17. Dats My Part ft. E-40
He went on to elaborate on the production and vibe of the release, "There’s songs with samples and songs with no samples. There’s very dark stuff and very light stuff. Fast and slow. Simple and complicated. And there’s songs on this album that I think blow away almost anything else I’ve ever done, so…we’ll see. I think song for song it’s the best album I’ve ever made. One thing’s for sure…it’s going to make it very difficult for people to imitate my sound.”
The Outsider is a record that will confound those who believed they had Shadow pigeonholed. Working with several different vocalists, and in styles spanning everything from hyphy, the Bay Area’s newest hip hop hybrid, to folk; from aggressive hardcore rock to left-field alternative dance music, the album is an almost schizophrenic collection from an artist to whom loving music and making music are just two sides of the same coin.
Long-term fans need have nothing to fear – his power to conjure and affect an emotion by collaging samples, voices and fragments of long-forgotten recorded dialogue remains undimmed – but the sense here is that, at last, this is the real Shadow, in the raw. The record was put together from disparate elements over nearly three years.
Artifact (Instrumental) is a relic of Shadow’s work on an abandoned solo LP by former Rage Against The Machine front man Zack De La Rocha. 3 Freaks, which features the hyphy emcees Keak Da Sneak and Turf Talk, was the impetuous, inspired result of Shadow’s love-at-first-listen affair with the Bay’s answer to crunk.
Seein’ Thangs, featuring Mississippi’s finest, David Banner, was supposed to include a rap by Mystikal, but he was in prison: so was Shadow’s second choice, Pastor Troy. By the time Davis went back to Banner to ask him to add a second verse, Katrina had devastated America’s southern shores, a disaster that couldn’t help but colour Banner’s rap. Kasabian’s Sergio Pizzorno and Christopher Karloff were introduced to Shadow by his engineer, and The Tiger was the standout result. And even Bay Area icon E-40 is in there, rapping about "the legendary DJ Shadow", suggesting that this Outsider really is anything but.