Soundbites: Travis Barker meshes mosh pits and hip-hop on first solo album


The fusion of rock and hip-hop has been a natural partnership since the latters inception. Without rock, there would be no hip-hop, but most rap-rock projects have been characterized by colliding the genres rather than blending them.

Not the case with Travis Barkers debut album, Give the Drummer Some. The heavily tattooed drummer from Blink 182 boasts a heavy lineup of respected rhymers, from the old guard RZA and Raekwon to newer stars like Lupe Fiasco and Kid Cudi. And pretty much every mainstream rapper in between, not to mention the talents of legendary Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and Guns N Roses Slash. 
Barker provides the backbone on each track, his percussive talents yielding to what his guests do best rhyming. Hip-hop is more interesting when performed with live instruments, and Barker reminds us how its done right. 
But he also produced the album, along with a long list of icons including Dr. Dre, Kanye West and the Neptunes. Theres a reason this album name-drops so heavily: it equates to quality.
Drummer opens strong with Can a Drummer Get Some? Lil Wayne, Swizz Beatz and Game come together for this aggressive track with hard guitars and Barker dictating the tempo powerfully on the kit. Its a model for meshing not mashing hip-hop and rock.
RZA and Raekwon lead Morellos hectic guitar on Carry It for one of the best collaborations on the album. Its energy is as electric as Morellos axe, and Barker sets the tone with his heavy but clean percussion.
Saturday Night featuring Slash is an eclectic mix of Latin-inspired riffs and steady rat-a-tat beats from Barker, who produces a chill track with the help of Slashs wailing solos.
Pigeonholing an album with 33 artists (including Barker) and their 33 styles does no justice to the expanse Barker and his guests cover on Drummer. But its fair to say there are no collisions of genre on the entire disc; just a seamless meshing of mosh pits, beats and verse.