Look Daggers is a project put together by Ikey Owens of the Mars Volta and underground hip-hop scenester 2Mex. The two had the stated desire to make an album that fused rock and hip-hop but that wouldn’t come out sounding like the Roots. And to that end, they have succeeded.

There’s a jazz element running through just about every tune. On “Call U Later” 2Mex raps and spells out his unhappiness in text-message shorthand to a staccato rhythm, but Owens, hanging in the background, calms everything down with a mellow keyboard riff. The blurring of genres works best on tunes like “Before You Say No” – the song is set to a funky jazz groove that 2Mex raps over for a couple of verses but Owens closes the tune with an extended electric piano and synthesizer passage that would’ve been right at home on an ’80s Steve Miller Band album.

Grade: A

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