Big Sean, Hall of Fame (G.O.O.D. Music)
If Big Sean’s debut Finally Famous accomplished his dream to be famous, sophomore album Hall of Fame is a statement for his bright future. Wedged between potent production and punchy rhymes is Sean Anderson being quite the introspective MC. The album’s opener, “Nothing Is Stopping You,” sees Sean brilliantly painting his earliest memories as a rapper before he met Kanye West. It’s the honesty on that track and the Nas- and Kid Cudi-assisted “First Chain,” rather than the lazy single “Guap” that endears the Detroit MC to his audience and will propel him to hip-hop’s Hall of Fame. ★★★☆☆
Goodie Mob, Age Against The Machine (Elektra)
It’s been 14 years since Big Gipp, Khujo, T-Mo and CeeLo released an album as Goodie Mob. So one would have every right to be skeptical. However, Age Against the Machine marks a triumphant return for the Atlanta quartet. Sure, CeeLo is still the star, but his chemistry with the group is unchanged. It’s still laced with the same Southern hip-hop funk and social consciousness as their debut Soul Food as evidenced on “Power” and “Pinstripes,” featuring T.I. Topics ranging from the destruction of radio to race relations power a fluid and incredibly sharp return for the Goodie Mob. It’s almost like they never left. ★★★★☆
Earl Sweatshirt, Doris (Columbia Records)
Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt is really good at putting words together in short bursts. But when tasked with making a cohesive effort, he struggles to remain focused. Doris lacks cohesion but still demonstrates how incredibly talented Earl is. He and Tyler the Creator volley absurdities on the demented “Sasquatch,” while the RZA’s wicked backdrop on “Molasses” allows Earl to riff off rhymes with uncanny aplomb. Unfortunately, Doris is just all over the place and doesn’t give the listener a better idea of who Odd Future’s gifted MC is. ★★☆☆☆
Upcoming on Andreas’ radar…
SEPTEMBER 24: Drake pushes his album back a week but is primed to have the best hip-hop album in 2013 with Nothing Was The Same. SEPTEMBER 30: A double dose of Justin Timberlake in 2013 is capped off with The 20/20 Experience (Part 2).