The Second Album

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The big, bold, and beautiful track "Arrival" is a fantastic opener for Latyrx's sophomore release, so good and so soul-filling that the 16-year wait between the duo's albums seems vindicated. As member Lateef the Truth Speaker declares "We won't be denied/Progress is on our side" while partner Lyrics Born co-signs with "It's an awesome time for those of us who felt marginalized," it's as if the two, mostly solo and mostly social-political artists, reserve this Latyrx tag for only the most purposeful of projects. When "It's Time" hits with its speaker-grinding, bass-dropping combination of dubstep and dope advice ("It's time, for you to stop being a robot" and later, "Shoot them down like Galaga"), calling this a solid comeback would be easy, but the cohesive, all-A+ rug gets pulled out from the album soon afterwards, as things wander into free-form territory and the veteran underground crew explores the 2013 hip-hop landscape of emo, indie, and whatnot. "Exclamation Point" flirts with the idea of a hip-hop/alt-rock power ballad, "Deliberate Jibberish" delivers on its title with OutKast's attitude and tUnE-yArDs' production, while "Nebula's Eye" tosses Kanye West's idea of rap-punk for Ice-T's old Body Count style. All of these cuts are interesting, but just somewhat ill, and suddenly Latyrx don't seem so much a project or a moment in time, but more of an evolving act, featuring two artists who have diversified since their first release. Of course, if there's one thing Lateef and Born share, it's a love of progress, so shake off those expectations because the often awesome The Second Album is more concerned about opening doors than just preserving the Latyrx legacy.

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