We gave it a B-
Dark, mood-altering instrumentals are DJ Shadow’s calling card. So it’s surprising to hear the turntable maestro packing the front end of his third album The Outsider with a batch of party-rap vocal tracks drenched in hyphy — California’s bodacious big-beat answer to Southern crunk. Later, head-snapping moments (the lacerating ”Seein’ Thangs” with rapper David Banner, the groupie saga ”Backstage Girl”) collide with the insufferable ”What Have I Done,” a New Age bubble bath. It makes for a jarring journey, an album too reliant on guest vocalists and not enough on Shadow’s usually impeccable sense of flow and tempo.