Lumberjacks

Livin' Life as Lumberjacks

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And then there were two, and they were...lumberjacks? Making the episode of Crank Yankers with Ludacris come true (the one where he calls the head of Def Jam and claims he wants to change his name to Peanut Head), the Southern outfit Goodie Mob are now called Lumberjacks, or at least they're threatening this since Livin' Life as Lumberjacks is a "Goodie Mob Presents" release. What really makes the L.L. Bean move oddball is that the Mob are as street-level, syrup-sippin' South as ever on Livin' Life as Lumberjacks, perhaps more so. Another concern is that the "Say Wha?" name change is going to alienate hip-hop buyers, and in turn make them miss the crew's most solid album since 1998's Still Standing. With Cee-Lo long gone from the group and Big Gipp just out the door -- he shows up on a couple tracks but he's no longer an official member -- the Goodie Mob are now a tight, forward-looking duo. Rather than dwell on the Gipp departure in the way their last album put Cee-Lo's leaving up front, Livin' Life as Lumberjacks saves its state of the union track for the end of the album and leads up to it with a steady parade of on-point, confident bangers. "Turn Your Whips" makes for a good crunk kickoff single, but what surrounds it is deeper. "Puttin On2Nite" is funkier and more inspired, while "Gothic Funk" is a lyrically excellent tale of struggle, overcoming, and funk that's "aged eight years in oak." The album is front-loaded with instantly apparent highlights, while the second half stretches its legs more. From the David Banner-esque "Bet Dat" to the "where we at" closer, Livin' Life as Lumberjacks gets more classic Goodie as it draws to a close, maintaining the album's well-thought-out flow. Keeping it 13 tracks and skit-less, the album is as fat free as its direct lyrics. Overcoming the halved membership, the mere six months since the last album, and the proposed whack new name, Livin' Life as Lumberjacks is good old Goodie, new-energy Goodie, and fan-pleasing Goodie all at once.

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