Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Music In Brief

All Natural has long been a beloved fixture of the underground Chicago hip-hop scene, and now the well-respected duo is celebrating the depth, versatility, and talent of its extended family/label with the terrific, shockingly consistent new compilation, Anthology Vol. 1 (All Natural, Inc.). Standout cuts like The Primeridian and J. Sands' "Off The Track" and The Pacifics' "Still Water" make an unbeatable case for All Natural's appropriately organic style of True School hip-hop, as do three charming contributions from promising newcomer Rita J. For anyone still sleeping on the All Natural family, Anthology Vol. 1 is the perfect wake-up call… A-

Grandma's Boy: Music From The Motion Picture (Sony) is mostly standard-issue: a random assortment of songs, some good (Paul Wall's tipsy "Sittin' Sidewayz") some less so, sandwiched in between what the back cover describes as "Hysterical Movie Dialogue!!!" C'mon, Grandma's Boy soundtrack people: Is that third exclamation point really justified? But then comes the album's gonzo last track, "Grandma's Boyee." Over Kutmasta Kurt's sinister synthesizers, Kool Keith waxes perverse about the title character and seemingly every supporting player in Grandma's Boy, at one point even referencing a scene in the movie that references him. Whoa, trippy. Like the film it so indelibly describes, Keith's theme song is somehow more creepy than funny, especially the strangely dead-sounding background vocals promising (ostensibly of the film's grandma), "She'll bring you lunch in your bag to work." Uh, okay… C+


Hitting stores just in time to ruin Valentine's Day, ?uestlove Presents BMB 2: Misery Strikes Back… No More Babies (BBE), broods on the soul-crushing aspects of love with 12 ?uestlove-selected dusties for the grown-and-sexy yet lonely-and-brokenhearted. From the melancholy majesty of Ohio Players' epic "Our Love Has Died" to the morning-after regret of Betty Davis' "Anti Love Song," the disc explores the full emotional spectrum of heartbreak, from operatic self-pity to sassy, tart-tongued resilience. This is the rare sequel that lives up to the original… B+

Asamov's And Now… (6 Hole) flew under the radar of many hip-hop heads on its low-profile release late last year, but fans of vintage Rawkus, Little Brother (whose Big Pooh is a labelmate), or just warm, infectious grooves, intelligent lyrics and amazing chemistry would be wise to seek out the group's stellar full-length debut. It's dope!!! A-

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