Let’s be honest: when the Black Keys echo through a big set of speakers, hip-hop is the farthest thing from your mind. Their soulful rock has helped defined the sound of the modern blues. Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach capitalize on the framework of rock and roll. Their fierce rhythms and wildly unrestrained, rip-roaring guitars are timeless. That’s because the Keys stick with what works, whether it be straight whisky or a solid blues chord. The new collaboration between the Akron duo and 11 hip-hop and R&B artists – called BlakRoc – may come as a surprise to casual listeners. Yet Carney says he and Auerbach have been huge hip-hop fans since they started making music. For 11 days, the two shared a studio with some of their heroes – RZA, Mos Def, Q-Tip, Ludacris, Nicole Wray, and Raekwon, among others. Instead of taking the driver’s seat, they let the MCs front the show. The eerie reverb of the Keys’ blues creeps through the spaces between Wray’s lamenting howls and Raekwon’s smart prose. It’s fun to hear Ludacris and ‘Ol Dirty Bastard rap about what they know best on “Coochie,” especially when fuzzy guitar and exploding horns resonate behind them. This is the rap-rock record Lil’ Wayne has been promising us for a year, but it sounds like this crew had a lot more fun.
BlakRoc - Stay Off the F%^&$# Flowers (ft. Raekwon)