Peanut Butter Wolf

Fri Nov 7


Founded in the mid '90s by LA-based DJ Peanut Butter Wolf, Stones Throw Records has released numerous 12"s and CDs, the best of which are Rasco's Time Waits for No Man (1998), which produced a street hit, "The Unassisted"; Lootpack's Soundpieces: Da Antidote (1998); Quasimoto's The Unseen (2000); Jaylib's Champion Sound (2003), MF Doom's and Madlib's Madvillian, a hiphop masterpiece that will be released probably next year; and Peanut Butter Wolf's compilation of the label's often hard-to-find 7" singles, Jukebox 45s (2002). Though heavy with funk, these CDs are heavy in another, opposite way: they are academic. In the same way the writings of a professor reflect the size of his/her library and knowledge of books, the tracks on these heavy CDs each reflect the considerable size of the DJ/producers' knowledge of vinyl.

In this respect, PB Wolf's label is not so much a commercial enterprise than a research institute. He and his label's main artist, Madlib--the producer behind the Lootpack, Quasimoto, and Yesterdays New Quintet--are hardcore researchers. They ceaselessly search for and collect rare records, order and store them in their basement (Madlib, PB Wolf, and the record label live under the same roof), and share the best of what they've found in original tracks or on mixed compilations, such as Madlib's Blunted in the Bomb Shelter (2002), which contains no less than 45 reggae and dub classics, and PB Wolf's recent Badmeaningood Volume 3, which has a variety of tracks that, for a hiphop DJ, are unexpected (Human League, Iron Butterfly, Michael White) and expected (Grandmaster Flash, Cold Crush Brothers, 45 King).

At one of the numerous high points of the Badmeaningood Volume 3, PB Wolf displays his (and this is only way I can put it) "selective genius" on the turntables by mixing Prince Far I's dreamy but dead serious dub/art jazz "Black Man Land" with the Jungle Brother's pragmatic but playful "I'm Gonna Do You." The pleasures of the blend is derived from the fact that the dissimilar tracks (in terms of themes, recording histories, geographies, sonic structures) find their impossible meeting point in the heady imagination of DJ Peanut Butter Wolf.