released Jan 19th, 2010
from the album - Games You Can Win
YouTube - RJD2 - Games You Can Win feat. Kenna
RJD2 (born Ramble John "RJ" Krohn on May 27, 1976) is an American music producer, singer and musician. RJD2 was born in Eugene, Oregon, and raised in Columbus, Ohio. He currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was signed to the Definitive Jux label where he released two largely instrumental hip hop albums and has produced tracks for many prominent rappers. However, he has now left Def Jux and has signed with XL Recordings. His 2007 album, The Third Hand, is a striking departure from his usual style and features RJD2 singing and playing instruments on nearly every track.
RJD2 originally began his career in Columbus, Ohio, DJing in 1993 with a pair of turntables bought from a friend. He went to high school at Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center and graduated in 1994. He claims his name originates from another friend who referred to him as "Rjd2" in his raps, and the name stuck. Originally working the role of DJ in the Columbus rap group MHz, he later signed to Bobbito Garcia's Fondle 'Em label, releasing the self-proclaimed "mix CD" Your Face or Your Kneecaps. A year later he signed to El-P's record label Definitive Jux and released his solo debut album Deadringer to much acclaim. Rjd2 later collaborated with Columbus rapper Blueprint under the name Soul Position, releasing Unlimited EP in 2002 and 8 Million Stories in 2003. He released his second solo album Since We Last Spoke on Definitive Jux in 2004 and released Soul Position's second album Things Go Better with RJ and AL in 2006 under Rhymesayers Entertainment label. He still continues to produce tracks, working with many independent rappers, such as Copywrite, Cunninlynguists, Cage, MF DOOM, Diverse and Aceyalone. He contributed a cover of "Airbag" by Radiohead for the 2006 album "Exit Music". 2006 also saw the release of the collaborative record "Magnificent City" with Aceyalone. In 2007, he released the solo album The Third Hand on XL Recordings, which he toured for extensively in '07 and '08. RJD2 has been extremely popular in the skateboarding and skateboard filming subculture, frequently used in montages. RJD2 has a new track called "Christmas Eve Montage" from the new Nightmare Before Christmas album "Nightmare Revisited".
In 2009, RJD2 established his own label RJ’s Electrical Connections and reissued Your Face Or Your Knee Caps, The Horror, and Since We Last Spoke as well as a box set entitled “2002-2010”. RJD2’s new full length The Colossus was released on January 19, 2010 on his own label.
album review from hiphopdx
The multi-faceted RJD2 had shown a knack for pushing the envelope throughout last decade. Releasing three genre-bending albums, the producer/deejay/singer-songwriter also revered as more than simply a novelty act, with several of his records crossing into the mainstream via TV ventures. Now reviving his early '00s record label Electrical Connections, RJD2 aims to make a triumphant return with The Colossus.
“Let There Be Horns” kicks off the album with a burst of energy. Amid a barrage of horns and guitar licks, RJD2 timely places transitions between melodies perfectly, as if the song moves through different scenes of a movie. With no vocals present, the instrumental allows listeners to paint their own visual picture. The eerie chimes of “Games You Can Win” follow immediately afterward, with alternative vocalist Kenna relaying a cautionary tale about success. What works best about this record is the fact that it’s tightly knit, which prevents it from straying into obscurity. However, the jaded vibe is enough that it gives off a certain mystic.
Building on the strengths of his features, RJD2 enlists Phonte Coleman of Little Brother for the mesmerizing record “The Shining Path.” Staying within his element, Phonte takes the tune to another level. Subsequently, it would be a shame to let this record be their last collaboration, though Phonte does already have producer Nicolay to compliment his singing endeavors. “Crumbs Off The Table” is another great piece of work, featuring vocals from Aaron Livingston. Blending equal parts Funk and Soul, RJD2 displays his underrated ability of songwriting.
What detracts from The Colossus is essentially the same problem that brought down his 2007 release The Third Hand; his questionable singing. This is notable on “Gypsy Caravan.” What starts out serene soon turns into a hot mess of grunge acoustics and an out-of-tune RJD2. “The Glow” is bearable by previous standards, but once again suffers from a bland vocal performance. In effect, RJD2 is better off hitting his listeners with tracks like “Giant Squid” or “A Spaceship For Now,” instrumentals that invoke imagination, which allows the music to speak for itself.
Channeling the best attributes from The Third Hand and Since We Last Spoke, RJD2 has found a musical platform that is worth developing for the time being. In retrospect, calling this album “colossus” was a bit of a stretch seeing as how not one single record truly stands out. Despite that fact, The Colossus is a fairly solid effort, and it goes to show that RJD2 is still one of the top Hip Hop instrumentalists working in the industry.