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

Music in Brief

Masta Killa's new solo disc Made In Brooklyn (Nature Sounds) isn't an instant classic like Ghostface Killah's Fishscale, but to its credit, it seems to be following a similar blueprint. Cameos from Masta Killa's Wu-Tang brethren litter the album, MF Doom and Pete Rock are among the producers contributing beats, and tracks like the deliciously blunted "Pass The Bone (Remix)," the elegantly minimalist "Brooklyn King," and "Ringing Bells" bang with the street swagger of golden-age Wu-Tang Clan… B

Don't get it twisted: Lupe Fiasco's Touch The Sky (Mixunit.com) mix-tape shares a moniker with Kanye West's mix-tape of the same name, but where West barely appeared on his disc, Touch The Sky gives fans 29 tracks of Lupe Fiasco in top form. A formidable contender for mix-tape of the year, Touch The Sky finds Lupe kicking warped science-fiction narratives, witty metaphors, and clever punchlines over some of the hottest beats around, including a politically charged twist on West's "Diamonds From Sierra Leone." This everything a mix should be… A-


Fans of DJ Shadow, RJD2, Jurassic 5, and masterful recent instrumental opuses from J-Dilla and Madlib would be wise to check out The Audience's Listening (Warner Brothers), the major-label solo debut from longtime J5 mainstay Cut Chemist. Chemist takes audiences on an invigorating sonic journey that skips deliriously from genre to genre and is animated throughout by an infectious sense of rhythm and a prankish sense of humor. Strap on some headphones and enjoy the ride… A-

Oxnard's Roc C is a walking contradiction: a Stones Throw gangsta rapper. What's next, a Sub Pop boy-band? If it were possible to trademark a voice and a flow, the gravel-voiced Roc C would owe 50 Cent flunky Lloyd Banks a whole lot of scrilla. On his Stones Throw debut, All Questions Answered, Roc C fails to set himself apart from the army of West Coast rappers cynically peddling thuggish bravado. Contrary to the title, Roc C's uninspired debut prompts the question "What the hell were Stones Throw and Madlib's gifted producer/MC brother Oh No thinking when they joined forces with this unremarkable gangsta mediocrity?" C+