Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Awol One & Factor: Owl Hours

Hip-hop has plenty of sad sacks, but Awol One’s raspy voice sounds like it’s pleading for attention even when he’s just stating his case, and while he sometimes projects a sympathetic figure on Owl Hours, his second collaboration with producer Factor, it’s usually an annoying one. The lyrics don’t help, whether Awol One is waxing personal on “Sunset Sandwich” (“You’re my heart and I’m your brains”) or tossing in lazily constructed pop-culture references (“Stay away from thin, like Lizzy,” from “Up Downtown,” or “I was Wally Mathers and she was Gidget Cleaver,” from “Back Then”). His nebulous sense of rhythm is a major stumbling block: See the way he swallows the line “Checking your e-mail on your cell phone,” on “Brains Out,” which for some reason is included in two mixes. (It also features Xzibit on the chorus, sounding like he lost a bet.) Factor’s production can ingratiate, from the dubbed-out steam-synths and jumpy rhythm of “Official” to the bright beat and slightly sour piano of “Up Downtown.” It helps, but not enough.


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