Since the first release of Endtronics in 1996, DJ Shadow has been a constant force throughout hip-hop. The veteran producer’s latest work showcases his diverse skill set and adds to his impressive discography.
The first side of Our Pathetic Age is entirely instrumental, featuring primarily experimental hip-hop production. On the second half, DJ Shadow enlists a smorgasbord of hip-hop heavyweights including Nas, Pharoahe Monch Pusha T, Run the Jewels and more. Tracks like “Rosie” showcase DJ Shadow’s prowess as a forward-thinking producer, while “Rocket Fuel (feat. De La Soul)” proves that the old-school hip-hop style will never die. DJ Shadow explained Our Pathetic Age‘s thematic content in a statement:
“More than anything, I try to get a sense of the mood of society as a whole. The subtle signals that humans send each other, the way people behave, their frustrations and ebbs and flows. In my part of the world, people are scared. There’s rampant homelessness, and a real fear of falling into generational poverty. People are addicted to, and addled by distraction; they’re angry and confused, and disaffected by their own governmental institutions. There’s songs that are inspired by this energy and seek to harness it, to make sense of it. In some cases, there’s attempts to salve the wound; in others, the songs merely observe but don’t offer solutions. Despite the title, it’s a hopeful, vibrant album…there is always light in darkness. I want it to reflect the times we live in, a signpost in the ground to mark the era…Our Pathetic Age.”
Photo Credit: Derick Daily, via Rolling Stone