A decade after Cannibal Ox came onto the scene and threatened to take over the rap world with The Cold Vein, lyrical wizard Vast Aire delivers his second official solo album, Ox 2010: A Street Odyssey. The first thing that’s clear is that time has been kind to the rapper, whose flow is still as sharp as ever, though perhaps a shade less enigmatic. Boasting an impressive list of guests, the album finds Aire going toe to toe with rappers like Raekwon, Cappadonna, and Cannibal Ox partner in crime Vordul Mega. The best guest spot, however, comes by way of Detroit’s Guilty Simpson, whose gritty, blunt-force approach to rap is the perfect counterbalance to Vast’s twisting style on “The Verdict.” Prodution-wise, the album is spot-on, especially the first third of the album, where Kount Fif lays down beat after beat of concise, sample-based beats that feel as if they’re designed to keep Vast on track, reigning in his delivery more than the esoteric style of El-P could (not that he’d ever want to). This kind of tight production makes its way through the entire album which, aside from the Black Elvis/Lost in Space and 2001: A Space Odyssey-inspired opening track, swaggers forward without wasting any time on skits or other filler tracks. For anyone who was left out in the cold after Def Jux closed their doors Ox 2010: A Street Odyssey is the album you’ve been looking for.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney