DJs like Krush don't make it easy for MCs to keep rap music primarily a tapestry for vocalists, as it's often perceived. DJ Krush doesn't write lyrics, he doesn't rap, he doesn't even understand English. But this renowned Japanese turntable maestro creates richly detailed and expansive tracks that, vocal or not, ooze hip-hop.
Perhaps to gel with American notions of what constitutes hip-hop, Meiso, his third album, features guest appearances by well-known rappers like C.L. Smooth, Guru, and the Roots on four of the album's fourteen, otherwise instrumental cuts. Though the MCs perform admirably and provide welcome human contact, the raps seem mostly like an afterthought, even a hindrance to the music's ebb and flow. There's never any doubt the star of Meiso is Krush, who imbues his electronic collages with mystical soul. --Roni Sarig