Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Music In Brief

As befits an MC with a name straight off of an undergraduate reading list, Edgar Allen Floe functions as the guidance counselor of North Carolina's mighty Justus League crew, with all the good and bad that entails. When Floe scolds wack MCs on his respectable (though less than enthralling) new EP True Links (Defenders Of The Free World), he seems motivated not by hatred or aggression, but mostly by a sincere disappointment that, like ruffians scrawling graffiti on bathroom walls, sub-par rappers just aren't living up to their potential. At his worst, Floe betrays Al Gore-like stiffness, but at his best, he imbues 9th Wonder's elegant retro production with a righteous sense of purpose. The beatwork is solid, but nothing approaches the regal majesty of 9th Wonder's production for Floe's career-defining "Righteous Way To Go," or obscures the clunkiness of Floe's delivery or the preachiness of his lyrics…

Another lesser member of a prominent crew makes a bid for solo recognition on Consequence's A Tribe Called Quence (Collectors Edition Mixtape) (Draft), a strange vanity project that pays reverent homage to Consequence's stint as a member of one of rap's most beloved groups on one of its least beloved albums, the underrated Beats Rhymes And Life. The disc combines lost tracks from Consequence's ill-fated, never-released would-be solo debut, remixes of A Tribe Called Quest songs featuring Consequence, and newer songs like Consequence and Kanye West's take on "Electric." The disc succeeds in invoking nostalgia for even the weaker albums of A Tribe Called Quest, but makes a much less convincing case for Consequence's future as a solo artist…

Madlib cross-pollinated Native Tongues' warm, jazzy, accessible vibe with Sun-Ra's spacey experimentation; RZA, Prince Paul, and Kool Keith's fearless shape-shifting genius; and Melvin Van Peebles' deranged wise-fool urban-griot lunacy to create Quasimoto's The Unseen (Stones Throw), which has just been re-released in a double-disc "Deluxe Relaunch" edition, compete with a full disc of instrumentals. For anyone with even a passing interest in the mind-expanding possibilities of hip-hop, this is a landmark album that raised the bar for homegrown basement experimentation.

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our newsletter