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The Unseen

by Quasimoto

Released June 13, 2000 via Stones Throw Records

Reviewed June 24, 2020

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Low Class Conspiracy (27%), Microphone Mathematics (25%), The Unseen (17%)

Quasimoto’s debut record is a warped reality where jazz, hip-hop, and psychedelia collide to create a comic book-esque world for the characters to get lost in. It wasn’t too common for rappers to adopt characters besides the likes of the legendary Kool Keith during this time, but Madlib dove headfirst as he balances his normal self with the bodacious Quasimoto, pitch shifting his own vocals to create the character’s in-album voice. Lord Quas’ off kilter and over the top rapping style defines The Unseen’s insanity, but beneath this crazy exterior is an amazingly crafted piece of hip-hop. A trippy, funky, and incredibly fun piece of underground rap that may or may not have been made under the influence of mushrooms. – Jared (9/10)

“Guess who's the new bad character in town? / Causin' mischief in your city, (hey watch out) turn that shit around” are the fitting first words rapped on Lord Quas’ debut album in 2000, The Unseen. While Madlib is seen periodically among this goofy yet iconic side project, the producers alter ego – a shrill, pothead alien named Quasimoto – is the main attraction. Although the underground hip-hop scene has always had an unconventional air about it, Madlib took it a step further than MF DOOM’s Viktor Vaughn or King Geedorah, manually altering the sound of his voice to expand his character beyond just a separate appearance. He even occasionally dialogues with the creature, both sharing an affection for drugs and chaos. The griminess of Quas’ lyrical content is only matched by the ability he actually boasts as a rapper, utilizing a shifty, off-kilter cadence that is as compelling as it is unorthodox. Pair the captivating rap performances with the ever-elite production from Madlib (this time going for a unique and disorienting psych-funk style) and The Unseen is simply a very fun underground gem. – Pax (9/10)

In 2000, legendary producer Madlib released his debut solo project under the alias Quasimoto. As Quasimoto, Madlib creates uniquely psychedelic and jazzy production that helps (his alter ego) Lord Quas’ high-pitched, humorous, and nonsensical rapping style thrive. Madlib was under the influence of mushrooms during the month of which he recorded The Unseen, and it resulted in one of the most wacky and imaginative underground classics out there. – Dominick (8/10)

Madlib's debut record under the ‘Quasimoto’ moniker, The Unseen, is home to a unique atmosphere hard to come by, and scarce to this day. The experience of early morning haze is bottled up through vibrations through dust-filled crates and back alley characters. Quasimoto’s high-pitched vocals provide enough of an obscurity to remain in one's memory, and that's without even delving into his production techniques and general quirks. At the time, this existed on an entirely new plane, with experimental hip hop having rarely ventured this deep into abstraction and overall oddity. The mischievous sound palette of The Unseen truly escaped from a masterful mind, and is late 90's/early 00's underground hip-hop at its finest and most alluring. "The meek ain't gon' inherit shit, cos' I'll take it!" – Peter (8/10)

Ben (Synth): 9/10 | Cam: 9/10 | Jared: 9/10 | Pax: 8.8/10 | DeVán: 8.5/10

Hadley: 8.5/10 | Peter: 8.5/10 | Dominick: 8/10 | Enth: 8/10


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