Rating: 4 out of 5 Potholes
There are undoubtedly certain pressures for producers whose earlier work has been met with much acclaim, especially when their ability is widely documented. However, Exile’s Radio serves as a successful addition to a celebrated body of work and growing reputation.
Those expecting something similar to earlier projects such as Below The Heavens or Dirty Science will be surprised due to the album’s format and slight departure in style, but they are unlikely to be disappointed: Radio may be a less conventional project, but it is a cohesive and tightly constructed one nonetheless. The album is not only engaging through concept, but also an enjoyable listen due to being largely consistent in its quality.
The experimental nature of Radio also seems to work in Exile’s favor — rather than completely leaving his original sound behind or largely depending upon it, the album reinforces those expectations of quality and takes things in a new direction at the same time. “Love Line”, for example, would not sound particularly out of place as a beat on Below The Heavens, but also stands alone as something new and original.
The album may not sound too much like what we’ve come to expect from radio in this day and age, but it is undoubtedly an authentic execution of the concept that Exile has set out to achieve. The project consists of vocal samples, sound effects and, quite obviously, music, creating an atmospheric piece of work that, at the risk of sounding a little corny, actually sounds as if you’re listening to a radio station that you wish existed.
Despite not being one of Hip-Hop’s most accessible listens in 2009, Radio is certainly a worthwhile one for those with an appreciation for strong production, thoughtful concept and consistency. This is an enjoyable album that further demonstrates Exile’s increasingly recognized talent.