Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2012-01-06


Awol One & Factor: The Landmark (Fake Four, 2011) Depressive emo-rapper seeks help--good for him ("Daze Go By," "Don't Be Afraid") **

Canibus: C of Tranquility (iM, 2010) He talks too much about how good he is only because nobody else will--and he is, damn it, he is ("Pine Comb Poem," "Golden Terra of Rap") ***

Del the Funky Homosapien: Golden Era (The Council, 2011) For three highly listenable CDs--incorporating the previously download-only Automatik Statik and Funk Man--impeccable rapper's electro beats don't stop and only occasionally rise above ("Calculate," "Dzl Funk," "Fit Like a Glove") ***

Open Mike Eagle: Unapologetic Art Rap (Mush, 2010) "Ain't no party like an art rap party 'cause an art rap party's so smart" ("Helicopter," "Mole in Your Ministry," "WTF Is Art Rap?") **

Lupe Fiasco: Lasers (Atlantic, 2011) Catchier when he's articulating his ill-informed politics than when he's making nice to the big bad record company he doesn't actually defy, now does he? ("All Black Everything," "Words I Never Said") *

Murs: Love and Rockets Vol 1: The Transformation (DD172/Bluroc, 2011) Quality alt-rapper tells the world how solid his career is with essential beats from solid careerist Ski Beatz, goes out on uncommonly anti-homophobic finale ("Animal Style," "316 Ways") **

Pharoahe Monch: W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) (W.A.R. Media/Duck Down Music Inc., 2011) "Our revolutionaries want Grammys and Oscars/Making a mockery of the music to be pop stars," so this revolutionary makes a sermon of it instead, which doesn't work either until Jean Grae adds her mojo ("Assassins," "Haile Selassie Karate") *

Scroobius Pip: Distraction Pieces (Strange Famous, 2011) MCs all secretly believe they can do it on their own, but even the smart ones are a little too full of their own words ("Let 'Em Come," "Try Dying") ***

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