Bavu Blakes makes hip-hop sensible once again for those who have become disillusioned by music made by marketing gimmick. His conversational style of emceeing presents the modern black American experience in succinct and honest fashion. Opening the album by stating that "I'm not down with being inferior to nobody," Bavu goes on to prove why he has become known as both a community leader and a freestyle champion in his home of Austin, Texas. Throughout the album his orientation towards improvisational jazz is enhanced by the presence of Dwayne "D-Madness" Jackson on bass and Scott Levy on drums, as well as DJ Logic and Baby G on turntables. Produced by a full stable of Austin up-and-comers including Nick Nack, Arson Optics, DJ Massive, aQ, Pea Dee, DJ Phyfteen, and Obadele Thompson, Create & Hustle is as diverse as it is focused. Tackling difficult topics such as misogyny and classism as unfortunate components of hip-hop culture, Bavu makes his mark as an outspoken cultural critic on "Sarcasm" and "Overnight." Meanwhile deep personal issues recur on introspective excursions including "Only Your Life," "I," and "See You." Succeeding in its quest "to make rap music raw again," Create & Hustle is a pleasant surprise in a sea of cliché.
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AllMusic Review by Robert Gabriel