Young Gunz

Brothers from Another

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Brothers From Another, the second Young Gunz album, often feels like it's as much of a mixtape as Get in Where You Fit In, an actual mixtape released by Young Chris and Neef during the tail end of 2004. Production-wise, it's all over the place, so it's rarely boring, if occasionally aimless. In the wake of Tough Luv's softer moments, such as the major hit "No Better Love," it's obvious that the duo want to come off harder, perhaps wanting to avoid Cassidy syndrome. (For some longtime rap fans, Tough Luv might've also sparked flashbacks of 2nd II None and Nice & Smooth, two other duos with sounds as smooth as their images.) The more serious and even sobering tracks, often packing aggression and a little menace, stand out most; "Beef," "It's the Life," and "We Still Here" show how Young Gunz have grown in a short amount of time. And all three come during the latter half of the album, the point where Tough Luv lagged and lacked. On these tracks, they sound convincingly hungry and desperate, not afraid to break a sweat. The first half also has its moments. "Set It Off" -- adrenalized deep throbs and handclaps delivered by Swizz Beatz -- and "Same Shit Different Day" -- disorienting deep throbs and handclaps delivered by Chad Hamilton -- are two of the album's best productions, though a few others deserve mention. Just to make sure the fans gained by "No Better Love" won't be lost, a dash of softer songs round out the bangers. "Grown Man, Pt. 2," featuring Kanye West and John Legend, is in the expected soul-dipped territory; on the other side, "Don't Keep Me Waiting" and "The Way It Goes" are two slightly jarring shots at exhuming the trebly side of mid-'80s R&B. Expect Young Gunz to command a greater amount of respect. They're no longer a singles group.

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