CD Reviews

GMB, Diamond in the Rough, Cee Lo’s Magic Moment

Progressive West-Coast Rap

Pac Div, GMB (RBC Records)

The major-label ups and downs for Cali trio Pac Div haven’t diminished their musical prowess. Gabe (Like), Mike (Mibbs) and Bryan (BeYoung) release their second studio title GMB, an acronym of their names, so fans can know the men behind the music. Humorous punch lines, California swag and rumbling production stuff these 17 tracks. The Mac Miller-assisted “Black Acura” and the collaboration with Kendrick Lamar and Blu, “Cross Trainers,” will rumble trunks and snap necks. But the finest moment on the album is the heist narrative, “Bank,” where they unleash their frustrations of not “making it” by plotting a Reservoir Dogs-style bank robbery. They should have made it by now—they’re just too damn good not to. ★★★★☆

What We’re Buying

1. Led Zeppelin, Celebration Day
2. MGK, Lace Up
3. Alicia Keys, Girl on Fire
4. Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d city
5. Deftones, Koi No Yokan
6. Mumford & Sons, Babel
7. Rage Against the Machine, XX (20th Anniversary Edition)
8. Soundgarden, King Animal
9. Rihanna, Unapologetic
10. The Weeknd, Trilogy

According to sales at Zia Record Exchange on 4225 S. Eastern Ave., Nov. 26-Dec. 3.

Reality Rap

Freeway, Diamond in the Rough (Babygrande)

Freeway’s scraping grunt has been a staple in hip-hop for the past decade as he’s survived the fall of Roc-A-Fella to carve out his own lane. Even without Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel and the rest by his side, the bearded rapper proved that he’s able to stand on his own. With a stellar production team and mostly Philly guests, Diamond in the Rough is yet another solid album from Freeway. With an impeccable ear for production, his voice traverses over soulful offerings from Jake One (“The Thirst”), Bink (“Dream Big”) and longtime collaborator Just Blaze (“Early”). Although it doesn’t offer anything new, Freeway’s latest is still entertaining. Surely, Jay-Z is nodding his head in approval somewhere. ★★★☆☆

Soulful Christmas Cheer

Cee-Lo Green, Cee Lo’s Magic Moment (Elektra)

It’s hard to accept that Cee-Lo Green was part of Atlanta hip-hop group Goodie Mob in the ’90s. When you consider the strides he has made since (Gnarls Barkley, a judge on NBC’s The Voice), the alienation of his original fan base springs to mind. His Christmas album is just as polarizing: Cee-Lo’s Magic Moment is more Mariah Carey than OutKast. Longtime fans will scoff at collaborations with Rod Stewart and the Muppets. Still, Cee-Lo manages to craft a groovy Christmas album packed with old-school soul. Yes, it can come off extraordinarily cheesy but when you hear “The Christmas Song,” mostly all is forgiven. ★★★☆☆

Disc Scan

Upcoming albums on Andreas’ radar …

DEC. 11: Before Game goes all “reality TV” on us, he’ll drop Jesus Piece with its highly questionable album cover. Here’s to hyping up your marriage show! DEC. 18: Not that I’m a fan, but the belligerence of Chicago rapper Chief Keef is captivating as he’ll drop Finally Rich and the countdown will begin as to when he’ll go back to jail (or do something really stupid).

Suggested Next Read

Bayou Spice


Bayou Spice

By Jarret Keene

If you saw this year’s Cannes- and Sundance-winning indie-fantasy film Beasts of Southern Wild, about a bayou girl struggling to escape a storm and heal her sick father, you remember its gritty, transcendent soundtrack. But you may not know the Lost Bayou Ramblers. The Grammy-nominated band contributed to the score with a Cajun-rock approach that fused zydeco and Led Zeppelin. They also happen to be playing Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel on Dec. 2.



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