Oreo Jones is the latest is a long line of MCs to embrace a strange, outsider approach to hip-hop. This method is definitely the overarching mantra of Cash for Gold. While he embraces the DIY ethic that other underground hip hop artists such as Homeboy Sandman, Grieves and Busdriver have been part of, his productions also have elements of instrumental hip-hop legends like J Dilla and Wax Tailor. This is the type of rap that emphasizes experimental, ambient synth patches and well-composed lyrics, instead of a basic heavily compressed kick and snare on the offbeat. In fact, the opening track on the album, “Goldust,” doesn’t even feature Oreo’s rapping until halfway through the track. The first 90 seconds of the track involve a synth drone that gradually builds into a few chords. At long last, the typical hip-hop drum pattern begins to form. This slow, building progression of Oreo Jones’s opening track definitely helps to define the rest of the album.
Other tracks further the classic electronic feel of this album. Tracks like “Wild Rice for Landon Caldwell” combine Oreo’s trademark mysterious dominating synth pads with a pulsing verse and a chorus straight out of an old-school Drake track.
One grievance of Cash For Gold is that Oreo occasionally lacks vivaciousness in his delivery. These tracks, such as “Mud,” and “Wide Brim Hat” suit best as filler and are not the kind of tracks that beg repeat listening. He doesn’t quite hold the listener’s attention like, say, Eminem, Kanye West or Andre 3000 when he slows things down. The following track, “Coogi Sweater,” is Oreo at his complete best. The energy is there, and the hook wordplay, though not groundbreaking, stands apart from the rest of the album.
A big aspect of Oreo’s work is the use of unusual, random humor and bizarre comedy in his lyrics and song titles. This seems right on point for a MC who also hosts a public access cooking show that also involves the use of puppetry (which, yes, he does).