P.U.S.S.Y. (Please Understand She Saved You) Judah (Universal Indie) Yeah, Judah is still a little hung up over Amber Rose...

Amber Alert: Amber Rose makes another appearance in Judah’s latest.

D.C.’s hip-hop scene has become exponentially more competitive in the last few years, but Timothy “Judah” Matthews has always been one of the guys pitching unity. In 2009, Judah organized a massive group photo of local rappers in front of the Lincoln Theatre. And his blog, For the DMV Only, is an invaluable, if perhaps ludicrously comprehensive, clearinghouse of new local rap music. Following last year’s debacle at the DMV Awards, where fights sent half a dozen people to the hospital, Judah led the scene in some soul-searching at a town-hall gathering—although he expressed skepticism at the time that D.C. rappers would be able to always get along.

Judah may be one of the DMV’s most passionate cheerleaders, but with his own music, he doesn’t get quite so lofty. His backronymic new instrumental album, P.U.S.S.Y. (Please Understand She Saved You), oscillates between inclusive and disengaging. It has recognizable vocal samples and digestible soul loops but also explicit cover art and a haze of distorted, psychedelic vapor. You can hear both sides of Judah—the everyman and the iconoclast—in “We Can’t Afford the Moon, which reconfigures “Lift Off” from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s hedonistic Watch the Throne for hip-hop’s 99 percent.

As a producer-for-hire, Judah’s work tends to be efficient and soulful, with layered percussion and sped-up samples that recall early Kanye records. Left to his own devices, however, and the Fort Lincoln native can be downright weird. His recent mixtape Eastbound and Down…The Instrumentals featured long skits from the HBO comedy series. Following the local success of his breezy summertime jam “Sundresses and Sandals,” Judah shot a gothic music video that borrowed imagery from HBO’s True Blood.

P.U.S.S.Y., for the most part, is an equally idiosyncratic affair, though it does have a handful of relatively orthodox moments. “Tree of Wi$dom” centers a straightforward loop of Jackson 5’s “Reach In,” and “Hey Slim!!!!!” is a chopped and hurried version of Bilal’s 2002 song, “Sometimes.”

Most of the record is a bit more disturbing. Wale makes a comedic appearance on “What’s That Smell,” a low-key spoken-word poem on which the MC riffs about foul-smelling genitalia above a soundtrack of light drum taps and piano chords. (A big motif of P.U.S.S.Y. is, well, pussy. Song titles include “Your GIRL Don’t CUM, That’s Why She Like P.U.S.S.Y.” and “Sad LAMENT If Your GIRL Loves P.U.S.S.Y. Too.”) Other moments are more downcast. On his retro-futuristic 2010 mixtape The Amber Rose Instrumentals, Judah imagines a brief tryst with model Amber Rose, who eventually leaves him for her then-real-life boyfriend, Kanye West. Amber returns on P.U.S.S.Y., but the mood is no longer playful and romantic. For most of these 33 sobering minutes, Judah takes a smoky journey through his own melancholy, complete with warped synths and, at one point, even Amy Winehouse’s disembodied voice.

In other words, Judah is a guy who’s quick to indulge his pop-cultural obsessions and fetishes—not exactly the kind of producer you’d expect to be a spokesman for an entire scene. He’s at his best when he’s neurotic and alienating, not when he’s being sonically inclusive. Make what you will of his indulgences, but you can’t say they’re not interesting.

Listen: Judah

Get the Flash Player to see the podcast player.

Download: "For Amy... She had Unlimited Soul"

Our Readers Say

proud of you...

Leave a Comment

Note: HTML tags are not allowed in comments.
Comments Shown. Turn Comments Off.
...