On his third album, DJ Shadow posits himself as a renegade outsider in the music biz, and certainly there's no easy niche in which to pigeonhole the various stylistic strands that comprise The Outsider. True, there's plenty of the standard hip-hop breakbeat business here, fronted by rappers like E-40, Q-Tip and Lateef The Truth Speaker, but these are probably the least interesting parts of the album, not least because Shadow's arrangements fail to showcase his scratching technique in favour of the routine chore of holding down the beat. Much more intriguing are the new directions of tracks such as "The Tiger", a blend of soundbites and percussion riding the serpentine guitar figure of Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno; and "What Have I Done", a nu-folk piece, which climaxes with cossack chanting. Best of all is the declaration of intent "This Time (I'm Gonna Try It My Way)", a slinky soul number on which Curtis Mayfield-style strings support his contention that "dreams need to be followed through".
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