Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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DJ Shadow: The Private Press [MCA, 2002]
Accusing Josh Davis of repeating himself is like bitching that Between the Buttons came after Aftermath--or that Light in August begat Absalom, Absalom! Sui generis masterpiece--which for all its influence has never been replicated, much less topped--then excellent effort in the same sui genre. The overall effect is less grand than that of Endtroducing six years ago, popper and rocker and r&ber. But an overall effect there is, grounded in Shadow's trademark-tremendous bass 'n' drum, which, among many other things, recontextualizes small-timer big talk from the prophet rock of Colonel Bagshot's "Six Day War" to the gangsta rap of Hollywood's "Gangster Rap." If only those schmos had taken their music higher, Shadow believes, we might have glimpsed the beauty and profundity within them. He's wrong. But he mounts quite an argument. A