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Released: Nov. 19, 1996

Rating: 4.375 (average of 11 ratings)

Genre: rap/electronica

Quotable: “Rendered all other ‘trip-hop’ entirely irrelevant.” – Blender Magazine

Album Tracks:

  1. Best Foot Forward
  2. Building Steam with a Grain of Salt
  3. The Number Song
  4. Changeling/Transmission #1
  5. What Does Your Soul Look Like, Pt. 4
  6. (untitled)
  7. Stem/ Long Stem/ Transmission #2
  8. Mutual Slump
  9. Organ Donor
  10. Why Hip Hop Sucks in ‘96
  11. Midnight in a Perfect World
  12. Napalm Brain/ Scatter Brain
  13. What Does Your Soul Look Like, Pt. 1: Blue Sky Revisit/ Transmission #3

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only --
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated --


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart --
peak on U.K. album chart --

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Midnight in a Perfect World (9/96) #54 UK
  • Stem (10/96) #74 UK


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. One of Blender’s 100 Greatest American Albums Spin Magazine’s 100 Greatest Albums One of Time Magazine’s All-TIME 100 Albums.

DJ Shadow
In 1994, Josh “DJ Shadow” Davis, “a hip-hop DJ with a scholar’s sense of purpose” BL “locked himself in his basement with a sampler, a sequencer and one of the world’s strangest” TL and “gargantuan” BL “record collections. Two years later, he emerged with a completely original electronic symphony.” TL

“Davis’ debut drew on horror-film ambience and pounding prog-rock, but was anchored by old-school production.” BL “As a suburban Californian kid, DJ Shadow tended to treat hip-hop as a musical innovation, not as an explicit social protest, which goes a long way toward explaining why his debut album Endtroducing... sounded like nothing else at the time of its release. Using hip-hop, not only its rhythms but its cut-and-paste techniques, as a foundation, Shadow created a deep, endlessly intriguing world on Endtroducing, one where there are no musical genres, only shifting sonic textures and styles.” STE His effort effectively “rendered all other ‘trip-hop’ entirely irrelevant.” BL

Endtroducing “builds on a solid historical foundation, giving it a rich, multi-faceted sound.” STE “Shadow created the entire album from samples, almost all pulled from obscure, forgotten vinyl, and the effect is that of a hazy, half-familiar dream – parts of the record sound familiar, yet it's clear that it only suggests music you’ve heard before, and that the multi-layered samples and genres create something new.” STE

“The 13 tracks vary in length and tone – some are beat driven and under a minute while others have orchestral swells and stretch to almost ten – but all are constructed entirely from samples, and the only voices are from obscure spoken word and comedy albums that sound like they’re being beamed from outer space.” TL

“Somehow a narrative emerges, and on Building Steam with a Grain of Salt, we even get autobiography by proxy. ‘I’d like to just continue to be able to express myself,’ says a self-taught drummer through the fuzz and pop of vinyl scratches, ‘as best as I can.’” TL “It’s not only a major breakthrough for hip-hop and electronica, but for pop music.” STE

Review Source(s):
  • BL Blender Magazine’s 100 Greatest American Albums (10/08)
  • STE Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
  • TL Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light, Time Magazine’s “All-TIME 100 Albums” (11/13/06)

Last updated March 23, 2010.