AOTY 2021

Sound Ancestors

Madlib - Sound Ancestors
Critic Score
Based on 12 reviews
2021 Ratings: #273 / 661
User Score
Based on 918 ratings
2021 Ratings: #414
Liked by 48 people
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The Guardian

Madlib channels a deep, intertwining lineage of Black music through Sound Ancestors like folklore oration, storytelling with the sorcery of a beatmaker who knows how to make an instrumental really sing.

Beats Per Minute

Sound Ancestors is a realisation of what the Madlib and Hebden are capable of in tandem. It’s bold, different, and takes the genre of instrumental hip hop to the next level.

Rolling Stone

The wildly inventive rapper-producer teams up with electronic musician Four Tet to create an album that lives in the space between the past and the future.

God Is in the TV

Whilst there are less immediate areas of the tracklist, there is a good proportion of showstoppers and every track has its place in the overall effort.  This is an LP that builds, getting better the longer it goes on.

The Line of Best Fit

Sound Ancestors isn’t anything new from Madlib, but it only further cements his status as one of the great producers, artists, and minds in hip-hop.


Nourishing batch of beat collages from the leftfield hip-hop auteur, assisted here by Kieran ‘Four Tet’ Hebden.

On his collaborative album with Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden, the producer, multi-instrumentalist, DJ, and archivist remains masterful by simply turning what he hears into something new and revelatory.

Sound Ancestors is a mixed bag if ever there was one. It's funky, it's psychedelic, it's jazzy, dirty, clean, and mean. It's Madlib.

The Needle Drop

Sound Ancestors trails off into averageness by Madlib standards, which is to say it never stops being above average in general.


It sounds recognizably like both Madlib and Four Tet while taking their music into directions where neither artist has ventured before, and its highlights are life-affirming.


Madlib is known for his psychedelic, positively weird concoctions, and he delivers a few on Sound Ancestors.

Spectrum Culture
In a world where more and more people think throwing a few old-timey samples together qualifies as jazz-hop, it’s needed more than ever for the elite producers to show the young bucks the true heights of artful, imaginative hip-hop beat making.
ipad music be like
madlib’s collaboration with four tet’s kieran hebden does not disappoint.

even in 2021, madlib is one of the best producers out there. his latest album is full of organized instrumentals and ingenious results.

throughout ‘sound ancestors’, many vibes are present. this foray is less into the hip-hop culture and more working toward a fusion of soul, funk, jazz, and electronic. there’s spanish guitar on “latino negro”, jamaican influence on “theme ... read more
This could have been a classic...but it's still an enjoyable release.

Madlib is one of my favorite producers, and I really liked the singles for this album, so I had high expectations. And while I do enjoy this quite a bit, it didn’t reach its full potential for me.

For what it is, it’s actually really well executed and sounds great. Madlib has some great instrumentals on here and some really cool ideas overall. But unlike my favorite instrumental records, it doesn’t ... read more
PRE-REVIEW NOTE: Thanks for 800 followers! Y'all still the best community out there. Today is a sad day, since SOPHIE just passed away way too soon. R.I.P. fly high, queen. Saying that phrase is way too habitual then it should be, the world is messed up. Also, i didn't feel to well today, so that's why i was inactive. I'll post my weekly log soon, i just ogtta finish my queue.

Madlib's new album is the only calming record that isn't boring or uninteresting of this year. And, i mean, who didn't ... read more
Sorry for the short review, I just don’t have too much to say about this project.

Madlib is a legendary hip-hop producer, most famous for his collaborations with MF Doom (rest in peace), J Dilla (also rest in peace), and Freddie Gibbs. This album was shaping up to be one of my most hyped albums of 2021, featuring arrangement by Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet), but unfortunately, it didn’t hit nearly as hard as I would’ve liked it to. Although some of the tracks were very ... read more
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Added on: October 25, 2020