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The Headphone Masterpiece Album reviews.

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The Headphone Masterpiece

Cody Chesnutt

Release Date: 01.21.03
Record label: Ready Set Go
Genre(s): Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, etc.

90 Music-Critic Score
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The Truthful Title
by: nick evans


Give any musician that's popular today a cheap 4-track recorder, very basic drum machine, and an array of instruments, and I guarantee you none of those people will give you something as creative, innovative, and most ambitious as The Headphone Masterpiece, the debut album from Cody ChesnuTT. Forget all you knew about how CD’s were supposed to be; the length of the album, the length of a song, hell, even the limits of what a song can be. This album spawns 2 CD’s and Mr. ChesnuTT wears his heart on his sleeve in 39 ambitious tracks, all recorded in his bedroom.


There isn’t any need to compare this guy to anyone, because there is absolutely no one like him. But should you desire to... take the weirdness of Beck, the funkiness of George Clinton, the rap of the Roots, the reggae style of Bob Marley, the rock n’ roll attitude of Lenny Kravitz, and the smooth voice of Bilal, mix it all into one, and you could probably have a good idea of what he sounds like. This album crosses all genres - R&B to Rock, Reggae to Hardcore Hip Hop, Love Ballads to “Dis” songs, sound checks to classic rock, and much more.


On “Serve this Royalty”, he is backed by a full jazz horn section that gives a brilliant one and a half minute introduction, until he comes in, singing earnestly, “Platinum chains and gold is all a brother knows…” On “Bitch, I’m Broke,” he lets it all loose hurling hilarious insults at whoever wants to hear.


And this is one Chesnutt's finer points: he doesn’t take himself too seriously, which leaves room for a lot of creativity and ambition. This makes The Headphone Masterpiece the type of album that doesn’t come out every day, or even year for that matter. With each track laid out with heavy distortion to give it a sort of “amateur” and “lo-fi” feel, they end up sounding all the better. His voice and style sounds great rough and unpolished and several songs that span only a minute in length, but still make the impact of an entire song. What's more, each of these songs could easily be expanded on and turned into hits. And because of all of the genre barriers he smashes to the ground on this CD, its easy to listen to straight through, making The Headphone Masterpiece an album people will still be buying and talking about 5-10 years from now. 28-Apr-2003 9:20 PM