RJD2 Continues Pop Pursuit On XL Debut

Hip-hop-leaning producer RJD2 will release his third album, appropriately named "The Third Hand," March 6 via XL Records, his first after parting ways with Definitive Jux.

Hip-hop-leaning producer RJD2 will release his third album, appropriately named "The Third Hand," March 6 via XL Records, his first after parting ways with Definitive Jux. The 15 songs here were recorded in his Philadelphia home studio in the course of two years, with the bulk of the work being done between September 2005 and May 2006.

While "The Third Hand" retains some of the instrumental hip-hop style that has characterized RJD2's earlier work, the artist (real name: Ramble Jon Krohn) opted to sing on one of his own records for the first time here. "What was personally challenging was the whole vocal element to me," he tells Billboard.com. "The entire difficulty of the record comes down to that."

"I've always tried to shoot for doing pop music," he continues. "Pop music for me is just trying to make concise, short songs; songs with a purpose and an apex. And that's what I've done my whole career. That to me, is the pursuit of pop. At no points am I trying to be difficult or hard to listen to."

This is also the first album where RJD2 has abandoned the use of samples. "This record is all live, except the drums," he explains. "I wrote, played and engineered the whole thing, and it was a ton of work. I had to learn how to engineer things and mic things" as well as "finding what to buy, and how to fix things when they broke."

For touring purposes, RJD2 has assembled a live band, and will bring along a sampler and turntables. "I think the live show will be something for everyone, but also challenge them, too." Currently, a tour is shaping up that will start in the Midwest and continue through the Southeast, including a stop at South by Southwest in March.

Here is the track listing for "The Third Hand":

"Intro"
"You Never Had It So Good"
"Have Mercy"
"Reality"
"Work It Out"
"Laws of the Gods"
"Get It"
"Someday"
"The Bad Penny"
"Beyond The Beyond"
"Sweet Piece"
"Rules for Normal Living"
"Paper Bubble"
"Just When"
"The Evening Gospel"