Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2011-11-29


Pusha T: Fear of God II--Let Us Pray (GOOD/Decon/Re-Up Gang, 2011) You know him--runs Clipse Cocaine LLC with his sharp-voiced brother Malice, who want you to know that, in the hallowed tradition of Handsome Dick Manitoba, music is just a hobby for them. The grand beats are safer than the clenched, confining, arrogantly hookless minimalism of Hell Hath No Fury. But every mean word delivers, and with cameos from Tyler the Creator to 50 Cent it's as if he never went solo. Like it or not, the volume dealer who raps for pocket money remains a good act--does he sound miserable in his thousand-dollar sneakers. Of course, we who buy our footwear online may prefer the price of the mixtape where half these tracks surfaced last spring. So maybe it would be poetic to try and obtain this improved version free as well. He won't spray us. That's just talk. A-

Tom Waits: Bad as Me (Anti-, 2011) The three strongest tracks on Waits's most rocking album ever all feature not just Keith Richards but Tom's drummer son Casey--Richards alone doesn't rock as hard. Not to equate Casey Waits with Charlie Watts. But since "Chicago" invokes the Great Migration and "Satisfied" namechecks Mick Jagger himself, I believe the grooves on this album are thematic. Of course, the themes are thematic too. The carpet-bombing "Hell Broke Luce" and the one about bailing out millionaires while the rest of us murk around in the mud are low-life chronicles for a time when it would be stupid to ignore the historical connection between low-life and poverty per se. A-

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