RJD2 has fallen prey to self-doubt — having decided, it would seem, that sample-based music lacks authenticity, he's embarked on an ill-advised attempt to become a "performer." The Colossus is jam-packed with vocal guests, among them Kenna, Phonte Coleman, and Aaron Livingston — and on these collaborations, RJD2 becomes little more than an afterthought, his sampled arrangements fading into the background.
Kenna's "Games You Can Win" is a sleek standout, but much of this release languishes in a lite-R&B quagmire, with RJ playing it safe and showing none of the verve and innovation that made Deadringer such an eye opener in 2002. "The Glow," on which RJ himself sings, is particularly noxious, a milquetoast adult-alternative track that reveals his inner Jason Mraz.
On "A Son's Cycle," Illogic raps "Gotta be sleepin' if you don't feel me" with an ironically somnambulant flow. Throughout, you can feel the tension between RJ's desire to make something real, in spite of his limitations as a performer, and his discomfort with his true strengths in sample-based pastiche. In the end, it's a colossal waste of talent and time.