Blakroc review by The Black Keys

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Nov 27, 2009
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.1 (17 votes)
The Black Keys: Blakroc
1

Sound — 10
The first song of Blakroc, "Coochie", starts out dark and brooding, then abruptly switches to a thumping beat and the now dead Ol' Dirty Bastard rapping. It is not a song you necessarily would dance to, but it is still a song that will blow your mind. This sets the tone for the rest of the album. You wont find these songs being played at a dance along with lil wayne, but Blakroc is still a masterpiece. Everyone involved with this album brought their "A" game. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney of the Black Keys supply the instrumentals and background vocals, but they keep things simple, trying not to take away from the rapping side of the album. Despite the instrumental's simplicity however, it is still better than the majority of the instrumentals out there on rap albums. Auerbach, master of the guitar riff, supplies great background guitar, and Carney supplies hip-hop savvy drum beats. In terms of rapping, many great rappers were involved, all very experienced with the exception of NOE. All the pieces came together perfectly on this album, with each musician complementing each other's sound without awkwardness. In terms of songs, there is only one that is hard to keep your attention the entire way through, that being "Telling me Things" with RZA rapping. It sounds like it was done in a couple minutes with one take. "Hard Times', "Hoochie Coo", "Hope Your Happy", and "Stay off the F--ing Flowers" are probably the four best tracks. That said, this is not the type of album where you buy the most popular song off the album off itunes. If you are going to spend money on this, buy the entire album. It is definitely worth your money.

Lyrics — 6
This is no Roots album, you aren't going to get politically driven lyrics off of this album. This is not because the lyricists are not qualified, but because each rapper was only given about a day to write his lyrics, and the recordings for the album were finished in 11 days because the producers didn't want this to turn into a year-long project. The two songs that do shine lyrically are "On the Vista" and Stay of the F--ing Flowers, done by Mos Def and Raekwon respectively. Mos Def is has long been regarded as a lyrical genius, and although it is hard to make out what Raekwon is saying, you can tell it is important. You'll know what I mean when you hear it.

Overall Impression — 10
On other rap/rock collaborations I've heard, it sounds like both the rappers and the rockers have the volume on their amplifiers up to high, making the sounds collide with each other and sound sloppy. Additionally, many of the songs seemed to have been made with not much care about the finished product, just something each artist had to do to get some more recognition. This is not the case with Blakroc I have found out. Neither The Black Keys nor the rappers seem to be taking too much of the limelight. Also, you can tell they cared about this album, and wanted to make something that sounded like nothing heard before and that sounded good. Even though the album was completed in 11 days, in no way except perhaps the "Telling me Things" song does it sound rushed. Get a copy for yourself and support good music.

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    EpiExplorer
    peter von chaps wrote: people need to stop being so quick to discredit hip-hop artists. i for one love the black keys. true this album isn't quite what i expected it to be after hearing about it, but it's pretty decent; it's growing on me. as for the hip-hop element of it, there's some pretty good hip-hop/rap out there. i'm not talking what they play on the radio, but i've heard many underground artists whose lyrics and flow blow my mind with how deep and true they are. some even have real instruments/bands with them. i've seen artists who play excellent jazz music and rap over that, it's truly beautiful. go out and actually listen to some decent hip-hop before you shoot it down without giving it a try. /rant
    I got to a college where they play nothing BUT fuggin hip-hop. I've heard enough to know I'm never gonna like it.
    TheBlackKeys12
    guys, i can understand why you dont like rap, its different from the usual rock. But this is just like in the 60s, when all the adults hated rock because they thought it was having a bad influence on their kids, and all their kids thought they were crazy. Its the same now, hip/hop is the new rock, and dan auerbach said it himself in an interview. The only difference is instead of good stuff being popular like how led zeppelin was popular back then, lil wayne and drake is popular. But there is really good hip/hop. I know a deterrence is that you guys think that all they talk about is girls and money, but thats only the mainstream rappers. Guys like the Roots and Lupe Fiasco are in some cases more lyrical than classic rockers. Just give hip/hop a chance.
    FootSwitch
    I love the black keys, even saw them live. But rap is the worst thing to happen to music, it gives the word "artist" a bad name. The day this over going fad ends, is when music can start to come alive again. Haven't listen to this but im sure its gonna be filled with retarded lyrics due to the fact that most rappers have the mind set of a 8th grader..... take a little back Beastie boys are ok in my book only cause they made two Jazz albums.
    psychokiller99
    ^dude chill the **** out. if the man says he doesn't like rap/hip-hop and probably won't, then ****'em. who cares? i've been listening to blakroc for the last few days, and I think it's pretty badass. I think it's a step in the right direction for hip-hop.
    freakincody7
    oh and for christ sake, i cant take you seriously when you dont like the black keys, there basically blues, which is where rock came from
    freakincody7
    EpiExplorer: I really dont like it dude, no matter how far I search into the thing, theres nothing I like in any way about hip hop, rap or anything related, except from the odd RATM song. And thats just because of the funk.
    dude, for real, shut your mouth. just cause you don't like it doesnt mean its bad, if that were true NOONE WOULD LIKE IT. so obviously, someone else is the problem here >_> thats like saying rolling stones is a horrible band caue you dont like the bassists hair.
    dmiwshicldply
    Just because a band doesnt throw around a 15 minutes solo constantly sweeping arpeggios doesnt mean it cant be memorable guitar work as a matter of fact i find that the memorable guitar work lies in a fairly simple riff that you will catch yourself humming hours later. and thats exactly what this and what any other black keys album is. What is with all the narrow mindedness in the metal community? there are other kinds of music there are other kinds of music than rock. Broaden your mind open your ears and learn how to appreciate music. rather you like it or not, if the music is honest and heartfelt it at least deserves respect. I dont enjoy metal but you dont see me getting on every metal review stating how much it sucks just because it doesnt fit my particular style
    aetherspear
    EpiExplorer wrote: I really dont like it dude, no matter how far I search into the thing, theres nothing I like in any way about hip hop, rap or anything related, except from the odd RATM song. And thats just because of the funk.
    Yeah ok, Funk, Rap, and guitar have nothing in common ever, as proven by these videos.
    http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFYR4XI9Itw http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=paTlPVW991A http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3A2WbIA BDw
    http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=uKJeLG8-M5I If you don't like any of these, well I know a hopelessly closed mind when I see one. Oh and Funk and RATM? that's a laugh.
    PhilFoxNJ
    i cant get into Blakrok\\c. i mean theyre good, but i just like the black keyes so much better. I know of a garage punk / psychedelic rock band (they call this mix flower punk) called black lips. they did a song with gza from wu tang clann. i thought they would sell out with this song, but i actually enjoyed it, and theyre still a pretty underground band.
    EpiExplorer
    TheDissident wrote: If Epi doesn't like rap or hip hop, that's all good. I've gone underground myself and don't much care for it,just the style I guess. That being said it is an influence on the music community, the whole community which includes guitar oriented bands. As such, music related to hip hop is just as deserving especially when coupled with a band like the Black Keys.
    I'm sure I'd like Black Keys, but they also seem like something I'd avoid.
    TheDissident
    If Epi doesn't like rap or hip hop, that's all good. I've gone underground myself and don't much care for it,just the style I guess. That being said it is an influence on the music community, the whole community which includes guitar oriented bands. As such, music related to hip hop is just as deserving especially when coupled with a band like the Black Keys.
    EpiExplorer
    peter von chaps wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: I got to a college where they play nothing BUT fuggin hip-hop. I've heard enough to know I'm never gonna like it. again, you're not looking in the right places. the music they play around my campus is terrible, too. go underground a bit. try listening to some Common Market or Nujabes or even Common or Mos Def.
    I really dont like it dude, no matter how far I search into the thing, theres nothing I like in any way about hip hop, rap or anything related, except from the odd RATM song. And thats just because of the funk.
    peter von chaps
    EpiExplorer wrote: I got to a college where they play nothing BUT fuggin hip-hop. I've heard enough to know I'm never gonna like it.
    again, you're not looking in the right places. the music they play around my campus is terrible, too. go underground a bit. try listening to some Common Market or Nujabes or even Common or Mos Def.
    peter von chaps
    people need to stop being so quick to discredit hip-hop artists. i for one love the black keys. true this album isn't quite what i expected it to be after hearing about it, but it's pretty decent; it's growing on me. as for the hip-hop element of it, there's some pretty good hip-hop/rap out there. i'm not talking what they play on the radio, but i've heard many underground artists whose lyrics and flow blow my mind with how deep and true they are. some even have real instruments/bands with them. i've seen artists who play excellent jazz music and rap over that, it's truly beautiful. go out and actually listen to some decent hip-hop before you shoot it down without giving it a try. /rant
    EpiExplorer
    Oh god, the chavs invaded, there is no hope . I'm sure there is no memorable guitar work to speak of, and after listening to one song (so as not to be biased) This is a band the UG front page could do without.
    EpiExplorer
    Sir Anonymous wrote: Appreciate what? Theres little to appareciate. I'm sorry if yer feelings got hurt, but tough. o.o as to the rest of you, this is primarily a guitar site, with guitar orientated music. If we put rap on the site, it'd change a lot. And to be honest, I quite like it how it is. kburns808 wrote: there are lots of rap artists that frequently use guitars in their music. Including this album. Secondly, there are already tabs for rap songs on the site. EpiExplorer, which song did you listen to?
    The one thats alreadyhad a title been used by someone else.. uhm, What You do To Me. It really wasnt anything that special.. and of the rest of you idiots calling me 'ignorant', ignorance is practically the same as racism, and I'm not being racist, I'm saying how related things such as rap music and chavs shouldnt really be on a site dedicated to guitarists and related musicians. Black Keys may not be a chav band, but sure as hell chavs are gonna blare it over the air.
    avsbmn7
    EpiExplorer wrote: Icarus166s wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: Oh god, the chavs invaded, there is no hope . I'm sure there is no memorable guitar work to speak of, and after listening to one song (so as not to be biased) This is a band the UG front page could do without. Shut the **** up.If you can't appreciate the work of the Black Keys, then you obviously can't appreciate life. Appreciate what? Theres little to appareciate. I'm sorry if yer feelings got hurt, but tough. o.o as to the rest of you, this is primarily a guitar site, with guitar orientated music. If we put rap on the site, it'd change a lot. And to be honest, I quite like it how it is.
    He said the Black Keys, you know the duo from Akron Oh that is made of Pat Carney and Dan Auerbach. If you believe there is nothing to appreciate in the Black Keys then you really cant appreciate life, or at the very least the music in it. They have released some great albums over the past couple yeas; Thickfreakness, Magic Potion, Attack and Release, and Rubber Factory to name a few. They are also one of the few bands lately who have made a name for themselves by playing clubs and working their way up through the ranks. Now just because you cant find it in you to appreciate their collaboration side project, doesnt mean that theres little to appreciate from the Black Keys. They put on a hell of a show and actually put out music they care about. I for one cant wait for the new Keys album in 2010. ONE last thing, there are two guys in The Black Keys, which means only two instruments, drums and guitar. Id say they are a pretty guitar oriented band. Dan is a great guitarist.
    Sir Anonymous
    Appreciate what? Theres little to appareciate. I'm sorry if yer feelings got hurt, but tough. o.o as to the rest of you, this is primarily a guitar site, with guitar orientated music. If we put rap on the site, it'd change a lot. And to be honest, I quite like it how it is.
    kburns808 wrote: there are lots of rap artists that frequently use guitars in their music.
    Including this album. Secondly, there are already tabs for rap songs on the site. EpiExplorer, which song did you listen to?
    howamidriving?
    I love how 99% of the people on ug are so blindingly against rap/hip-hip. it cracks me up. this album is awesome and if you write it off before you give it chance then youre missing out on some great music. and writing off an entire genre is even worse and even more ignorant
    kburns808
    Appreciate what? Theres little to appareciate. I'm sorry if yer feelings got hurt, but tough. o.o as to the rest of you, this is primarily a guitar site, with guitar orientated music. If we put rap on the site, it'd change a lot. And to be honest, I quite like it how it is.
    there are lots of rap artists that frequently use guitars in their music.
    EpiExplorer
    Icarus166s wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: Oh god, the chavs invaded, there is no hope . I'm sure there is no memorable guitar work to speak of, and after listening to one song (so as not to be biased) This is a band the UG front page could do without. Shut the **** up.If you can't appreciate the work of the Black Keys, then you obviously can't appreciate life.
    Appreciate what? Theres little to appareciate. I'm sorry if yer feelings got hurt, but tough. o.o as to the rest of you, this is primarily a guitar site, with guitar orientated music. If we put rap on the site, it'd change a lot. And to be honest, I quite like it how it is.
    drew saltarelli
    have I gone batshit insane, since when the hell were the black keys a rap group? :S I'm used to hearing I Got Mine and Psychotic Girl... this is...not what I expected. It's growing on me though.
    Icarus166s
    EpiExplorer wrote: Oh god, the chavs invaded, there is no hope . I'm sure there is no memorable guitar work to speak of, and after listening to one song (so as not to be biased) This is a band the UG front page could do without.
    Shut the **** up.If you can't appreciate the work of the Black Keys, then you obviously can't appreciate life.
    FatherBeard
    I've never heard this band, but saying there's no hope because there's no 'memorable guitar work' is pretty ignorant. Other instruments exist too, you know.
    skatinpunk
    Admiral Petty wrote: I must disagree, you need to open your mind a bit. That said, The Black Keys are much better when on their own, but this was still interesting.
    exactly
    Admiral Petty
    I must disagree, you need to open your mind a bit. That said, The Black Keys are much better when on their own, but this was still interesting.
    Sir Anonymous
    EpiExplorer wrote: The one thats alreadyhad a title been used by someone else.. uhm, What You do To Me. It really wasnt anything that special.
    Ah, well I've got to agree with you on that one. What You Do To Me is what I would call one of the lesser tracks on the album. I mean, I wouldn't blame you if you aren't interested in the rest of the album - different strokes, and all. If you want to give it a second chance, I'd recommend 'On The Vista' maybe; I'm not versed in this disc yet. Christ if you wanted to give rap as a genre a second chance, I'd point you at some Deltron even though it probably makes me sound terrible. Either way, I hope you don't let this sour you against the Black Keys, they're actually more of a blues-alt-rock band -- kind of like a mellower White Stripes