XL – 2001 - 52 minutes
Ugly Duckling have been pigeon-holed as part of an old-school rap revival, but that's a serious slur. The truth about the old school is harsh; in reality, lame beats and inept lyricism make rap's pioneers more embarrassing than exciting. If anything, Ugly Duckling revived the new school sound, when bands like De La Soul, Gangstarr and the Jungle Brothers took hip-hop in a positive and very musical direction.
Jurassic 5 recently ploughed this funky terrain with their debut and sophomore albums, and Ugly Duckling three - white boys from Snoop Doggy Dogg's stomping ground of Long Beach - are in the same tradition.
Their songs are simply underpinned with effective and melodic loops from DJ Einstein and the rhymes from Dizzy and Andycat are laid-back to the point of being comatose. Einstein digs around for classy soul and jazz samples, and comes up with a snippet of Gangstarr's Guru on 'Eye on the Gold Chain', their ode to their DJ's ridiculous taste in jewellery.
Journey to Anywhere is a bit lightweight and fluffy, but it's as likeable and entertaining as hip-hop gets and it should sound great at a beach party near you this summer.
Tracklisting: Introduckling - I Did it Like This – Journey to Anywhere – Friday Night – Little Samba – Pike – If you Wanna Know – Eye on the Gold Chain – Pick up Lines – Rock on Top – Oasis – Dizzy – Down the Road – Lay it on Ya – Visions