Can the drummer get some? It’s evident that some of most decorated sticksmen have got ‘some’ in terms of a star profile, even when apparently playing the background to lead singers and guitarists. As Keith Moon (of The Who) and ?uestlove of The Roots have proven, even the drummer can have their moment in the spotlight, as Blink 182’s Travis Barker aims to prove on his collaborative album Give The Drummer Some. Moving well into the Hip Hop lane, can the eccentric nature and style of Barker’s persona mesh well with the cocky, egotistical ways of some of rap’s favourites?
The project’s title track kicks things off and it’s an appropriate choice as Barker storms in over the sick opener, giving us an early sample of the album’s signature sound. With crashing drums and Hip Hop swagger courtesy of Swizz Beatz, The Game, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, Barker gets off to a heavy, riotous start. The upbeat vibes continue on ‘If You Want To‘ with Pharrell and Lupe Fiasco channeling the spirit of rambunctious N.E.R.D tracks, which makes for a killer record.
Give The Drummer Some offers something for hipsters, heavy rock heads as well as those hardcore Hip Hop fans who may have raised an eyebrow when considering Barker’s first solo project. The ‘cool’ box is again checked when the Cool Kids are invited onto ‘Jump Down’ and double-time rapping is the theme when Yelawolf, Twista and Busta Rhymes team up on ‘Let’s Go’.
As hard as it may be to imagine anyone other than a rapper shining on this project, Travis Barker’s calamitous drumming only adds the raucous, live productions on board – almost composed entirely by Barker himself. The heavy drums birth a live element of Hip Hop which the likes of Just Blaze, Black Milk and others have infused into their sound. Assembling a mini Wu revival on ‘Carry It’ the duo of the RZA and Raekwon relentlessly ride a heavy guitar-led anthem, but the aggression switches to the lavish playa cut ‘Knockin’ where its steady rolling mood is motored by Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, E-40 and DEV.
Although Hip Hop driven, Give The Drummer Some does venture back to Barker’s original grungy, rock traits which unfortunately don’t equal to the standards set. ‘Saturday Night,’ featuring his punk group the Transplants and Guns n Roses legend Slash, joins ‘On Our Own’ and ‘Misfits’ as the few ‘skippable’ tracks – mostly for its hardcore roots and incoherence with the rest of the album.
But Travis Barker has done something which many musicians and producers with feature-led projects have generally been unable to do on their albums – and that’s to keep the consistency of exceptional tracks running throughout. Give The Drummer Some calls to action legends, superstars and successful bands to do what they do best, all to the beat of Travis’ impeccable drumming.
Getting the Hip Hop ‘balance’ right, Barker’s assembling of beats, guitars and scratches result in an energetic, mosh-pit like event which all fans can enjoy. In addition to its unbiased stance towards a particular region of rap (collaborations range from the West Coast’s Jay Rock to the bi-coastal Slaughterhouse), those on hand to provide 16’s are on form and drive the mixtape to a successful finish. Give The Drummer Some does more than give Barker an approval from the culture but provides evidence that an “outsider’s” take on the genre can result in a product of equal measure to some of the best material from it.