Instrumental hip-hop is a tough arena. It has a low commercial worth, and DJ Shadow looms over all. Rjd2's 2002 debut (Dead Ringer) showed fresh ground to plow. He wasn't an imitator, but a sampler virtuoso aware of pacing songs for maximum effect. After his journey to success, his second album hones the approach—moody and mellow, like a rap singer/songwriter album.