88-Keys

The Death of Adam

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Producer/rapper 88-Keys' debut full-length, The Death of Adam, is an ambitious concept album, one obsessed with sex as much as any given Devin the Dude album is obsessed with weed. The story of this Adam begins with the jaunty "Morning Wood," an ode to A.M. erections that mixes the flavors of alt-rappers like Pigeon John, Danny!, and Prince Paul along with the cocksure attitude of the album's executive producer, Kanye West. The track's "Now I'm thinking of a plan/That doesn't involve my hand" sets Adam on a journey that will involve kink (the thuggish "Handcuff 'Em"), Viagra (lead single "Stay Up!"), and unwanted emotional attachment ("No. I Said I LIKED You," which tells its story through loops and samples). The album's title gives away the big spoiler, but the big lure here isn't so much the story as the way it is told, with adventurous and always fully formed productions. "The Friends Zone" ("My vision is double from the Viagra I popped/Thinking about your bubble girl") borrows a riff from Devo's "Come Back Jonee," while samples from Paul McCartney's Wings figure into both "Dirty Peaches" with J. Davey and "Ho' Is Short for Honey" with Kid Cudi. Other guests include Phonte and Redman plus an amazing appearance from Bilal, who is bold enough to lend his golden age vocals to a neo-soul song called "M.I.L.F." This idea of seducing the older set with such a brash acronym is heads-up for how offensive the album can be, but all rash decisions have consequences in Adam's world, so think of this as the Penthouse letters column with a conscience and plenty of smarts. The Death of Adam may not be for everyone, but it's a horny kind of clever the more open-minded hip-hop fan will savor.

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