DJ Shadow

The Outsider

Full disclosure: Back in ’96, when DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing was being heralded as hip-hop’s saving grace, this reviewer made the error of pointing out that Shadow, né Davis resident Josh Davis, was in fact Caucasian—on SN&R’s cover, no less. Shadow’s “collective” instantly fired off a scathing missive promising to never communicate with us again. Little did anyone know that the threat would apply to the entirety of Shadow’s career, including his latest release, The Outsider. It’s true that Shadow is to turntablism what Charlie Parker was to the saxophone, but a great instrumentalist does not a great album make, and the posse surrounding Shadow here, drawn from the Bay Area’s hyphy movement, fails to deliver anything resembling a groove. It seems DJ Shadow is still not speaking, at least to me.