Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Leikeli47: Acrylic [Hardcover/RCA, 2018]
From her friendly, articulate, elusive, music-centered interviews, what we know for sure about this rapper-singer who never goes out in public without a ski mask is that she's from Brooklyn. Plus, right, this: "My love of fashion came of being poor." Everything else we must infer from her lyrics. On her new album, for instance, there's enough detail about historically black colleges in the Greek victory chant "Roll Call" to suggest she attended an HBC herself, although the Broad and Lombard hint places it in Philadelphia, which isn't home to a single one, a smokescreen typical on on album that gets down to cases even so. Articulated in a Lauryn Hill fan's clear, island-tinged flow is a tour of a shy, smart, moderately successful young woman's hood: the nail salons and girl blunts, the sexist UGs and subway makeout sessions, the dumpster babies and relatives who need more help than you can afford to give them. The evidence that she's as musical as Hill, much less her beloved Michael Jackson, is sketchy. But what an up it is to hear a soulful survivor-and-then-some try to get there. A-