Miguel, Kaleidoscope Dream (RCA)
After his 2010 debut, Miguel joined the most-wanted list of R&B singers. Guest appearances with Nas and Wale followed, and anticipation for his sophomore album heightened. And Miguel delivers the goods on Kaleidoscope Dream. The title track’s grunting guitars and “Don’t Look Back”’s haunting vocals and atmospheric production tinker with the usual song formula. His songwriting chops are displayed with the social commentary in “Candles in the Sun.” And the playful “How Many Drinks” demonstrates his magnetic diversity. With Kaleidoscope, Miguel has firmly planted himself as a top-tier artist today. ★★★★☆
Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 (Atlantic)
When Lupe Fiasco traded the pop-saturated Lasers to Atlantic for the right to deliver the album he wanted with Food & Liquor 2, fans wondered if he would make good on that promise. As soon as he piles political perspective on the opening bars of “Strange Fruition” you realize that Lupe’s compromise was worthwhile. F&L 2 is loaded with intelligence and unapologetic perspective on society’s ills. The brilliance of “ITAL (Roses)” where Lupe begs for a break from the clichéd drug raps in favor of some positivity is indicative of the change Lupe wants to see in the world. Although the album craters with some syrupy odes to the opposite sex, this is his sweet spot. ★★★★☆
MHz, MHz Legacy (Man Bites Dog Records)
It’s hard to believe that the quintet of Copywrite, Jakki Da Motamouth, RJD2, Tage Future and the late Camu Tao never released an official debut album. They reunite 14 years after forming MegaHertz for MHZ Legacy, an aesthetically awesome album. RJD2 handles the bulk of the production, and Copywrite’s lyrical maturation shines. The tandem riff punchlines at freakish rates on “Accidentally on Purpose” and “Spaceship.” Their documentation of their history on “Hindsight” and the ode to Camu Tao on “Tero Smith” captivate. MHz shows other collectives how it’s done. ★★★★☆
Upcoming albums on Andreas’ radar …
NOV. 6: Ne-Yo returns after a brief hiatus for R.E.D., and we’re hoping it’s more R&B and less EDM. NOV. 13: Universal Records will release remastered versions of The Weeknd’s three previously free projects packaged as a set titled Trilogy. 9th Wonder will be collaborating with Buckshot and Murs again for two separate projects. 9th and Buckshot will drop The Solution, and Murs will join 9th Wonder for The Final Adventure.