Little Brother

Getback

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It should be an easy story to tell: vaunted rap group loses the producer who made them a quality act, then slowly sinks back into the underground, never to be heard from again. From Getback, it's clear that Little Brother didn't mind the loss of 9th Wonder and decided to rewrite the script. Not only do Phonte and Pooh sound like nothing has changed, in point of fact they sound more energized and engaged than ever before. They've got more to say and more intriguing ways to say it, including touches like fronting a flashy production worthy of Bad Boy for the anti-materialist "Good Clothes," inviting Lil Wayne for "Breakin My Heart" (where he reliably blows your mind with line after line, like "I don't want a broken heart because I lose the pieces"), and floating an utterly hilarious exposé of late-night hook-ups ("After the Party"). Instead of the usual rap record circa 2007, where dozens of lines go by with no reason to pay particular attention besides technical ability, it's difficult not to hang on every line here from Phonte and Pooh. And for those worried about the production quality with 9th Wonder's departure, it may have actually improved with the work of Illmind and Khrysis, among others (9th Wonder appears once, on the Lil Wayne feature). It's one of the most refreshing hip-hop records of 2007, one where you can rely on rappers to talk intelligently and rap fluidly about important subjects, know what to treat seriously and what to treat humorously, put up great productions, and really care about what they're saying.

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