March 19, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it a B

Madvillain is a bicoastal team-up of two dizzyingly prolific hip-hop heads — Atlanta rapper MF Doom and Cali producer-beatsmith Madlib. Madvillainy does not match the sharp comic storytelling of last year’s Vaudeville Villain (released under Doom’s Viktor Vaughn moniker); it’s more of an indie rap blowing session by two guys near the top of their game. Sometimes it grabs you by your ear like Grandma (the squeeze-box braggadocio of ”Accordion”), sometimes it just unspools. But Madlib and Doom always tuck surprises into the corners.

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