Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. The Outsider screams to be downloaded in sections by fans of specific genres.
  2. This is a fascinating record that will initially bewilder, but rewards repeated listens.
  3. Contrary to the way he's been perceived, Shadow has never been anything other than passionate about hip hop, and "The Outsider" is his love letter to the genre, revelling in all its myriad excesses.
  4. Uncut
    80
    As brave as it is diverse. [Oct 2006, p.104]
  5. Rolling Stone
    70
    As a full-length Shadow album, The Outsider buckles from its forced diversity. [24 Aug 2006, p.94]
  6. Q Magazine
    70
    As ever, The Outsider's production is immaculate. But by frontloading the album with forbidding hip hop, [Shadow] knows he's driving away the floating voter. [Sep 2006, p.106]
  7. Aside from track sequencing issues... and dodgy indie geezers, 'The Outsider' is a great album and well worth the wait.
  8. The Outsider shouldn't be framed as the second coming of a masterpiece but as a stepping-stone.
  9. The cadre of eclectic guest appearances... make it seem like this record would play more like a mix tape, but Shadow pulls it off, and for the most part, each of the guest artists deliver the goods.
  10. I suspect that it will be one of those albums that people might dismiss today but will go back to in six months or six years, in the process rediscovering a treasure trove of interesting music.
  11. Despite the presence of some must-hear rap tracks, it's hard to justify the purchase if you are paying for only about half an album.
  12. The Outsider is a carefully crafted, artistically elusive mess -- far more scattershot than even his first UNKLE record (Psyence Fiction), but much more interesting for its excellent productions.
  13. Entertainment Weekly
    67
    A jarring journey. [22 Sep 2006, p.94]
  14. Mojo
    60
    Tough to take in one sitting, The Outsider nevertheless boasts enough fine 'deep cuts' to be a keeper. [Sep 2006, p.98]
  15. The Outsider is a mix tape. The artful flow that defined Endtroducing and The Private Press has been eschewed in favor of individual tracks, and the album succeeds or fails along these lines.
  16. While the hyphy tracks might scare some people off, they are the record's undoubted highlights.
  17. While it’s a bit hit and miss, the sheer bullishness of this album is impressive.
  18. More often than not, even Shadow's most extreme sonic detours hit home.
  19. Spin
    60
    Slinging new styles and innovating them are separate matters. [Oct 2006, p.100]
  20. Urb
    60
    Where Shadow ultimately sutmbles is on the britpop tip. [Oct 2006, p.116]
  21. Under The Radar
    60
    Despite its lapses and awkward moments, The Outsider feels like the turntablist’s attempt to loosen up and venture away from a recognizable aural framework. [#15]
  22. This album should alienate virtually everyone who's ever been a Shadow fan.
  23. Vibe
    50
    Occasionally, the chemistry is thrilling... Mostly, though, Shadow picks collaborators allergic to subtlety. [Oct 2006, p.143]
  24. It’s hard to imagine anyone going for the whole album, because it doesn’t hold together. [18 Sep 2006]
  25. Paste Magazine
    50
    His work here seems scattered and gimmicky. [Oct 2006, p.75]
  26. New Musical Express (NME)
    50
    Here, ultimately, the DJ remains resolutely in the background. ANd that was never the point. [16 Sep 2006, p.35]
  27. Magnet
    50
    A draining listen due to its scatterbrained ideas and patchy sequencing. [#73, p.106]
  28. Shadow's head scratching choice of singers detract from the potency of his fluid beats.
  29. 40
    Distraught longtime fans can take comfort in the gothic ire of the Banner-fronted, Hurricane Katrina–lamenting “Seein’ Thangs” and the ambling blues-hop storytelling of Phonte Coleman on “Backstage Girl,” but little else can be salvaged from the wreckage of Shadow’s abruptly imploding talent.
  30. Problem is, the odd hodge-podge of tracks have no apparent connection to each other and certainly don't make for a coherent statement or even a decent mixtape.
  31. Great ideas abound--it’s just that they stumble on their face.
User Score
4.4

Mixed or average reviews- based on 45 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 45
  2. Negative: 23 out of 45
  1. ChoreoF
    Dec 20, 2006
    3
    the 3 is for effort and i could never give my numba 1 DJ a 0 but damn...this time it was hard. the album is easily comparable to Jay-Z's the 3 is for effort and i could never give my numba 1 DJ a 0 but damn...this time it was hard. the album is easily comparable to Jay-Z's kingdom Come...high expectations, High let downs. And ditto to Andrew B, In full agreement! Josh, please leave the hyphy movement to the idiots tryin to market it to the east coast surburban kids and come back to the da bassment with da true hip hop heads. Full Review »
  2. Aug 8, 2014
    4
    This is DJ Shadow's first bad album. He was going for a San Francisco-based "hyphy" sound with the hip-hop tracks. However, he should haveThis is DJ Shadow's first bad album. He was going for a San Francisco-based "hyphy" sound with the hip-hop tracks. However, he should have chosen better guest emcees (E-40, Q-Tip, and Lateef the Truth Speaker are good though). I know that Shadow wanted to make this album hip-hop-centric, but I also know he could have made way better beats than these. Even the non-hip-hop tracks are not very good and, in come cases, laughably corny. This album is occasionally enjoyable, but I strongly suggest listening to earlier Shadow material over this! Full Review »
  3. HabibW
    Jan 31, 2007
    6
    Hate/love is my reaction...by far the best intro of any album to date...followed by a great but ill placed song 'try it my Hate/love is my reaction...by far the best intro of any album to date...followed by a great but ill placed song 'try it my way'...should have been the conclusion of the disk...followed by better than your average hyphy coupled with awful rappers(E-40, Keek Da Sneak, Turf Talk) and then a better than usual David Banner and then some uninteresting instrumentals...but then the highlight of the album 'Backstage Girl' ...this track w/ the intro make your money's worth...'Tiger' is masterful but awful singing as well with most of the rest of the album...as a producer I was influenced a lot by Shadow so I can understand where he is going...perhaps he should re-release this album without vocals then he would be praised... Full Review »