Time Being

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With its warm, organic production and loping tempos, this full-length debut from Florida quartet Cyne slots in aesthetically alongside the tastefully introspective work of artists like J-Live, Five Deez, and DM & Jemini. In terms of its lyrical content, however, Time Being is a bit of a nonstarter. Inveterately serious and hopelessly po-faced, MCs Cise and Akin are partial to rapping about things like standing strong, uniting, and motivating change, which of course would be no bad thing if they didn't sound so stilted and joyless in the process. Their mirthlessness would be easier to overlook were there some invention in the delivery, but what listeners get instead is an endless promenade of solemnly delivered hip-hop clich├ęs that covers everything from metaphysical pen worship shtick ("Papermate") to fireless state-of-the-nation addresses about "confederate flags over the houses of the rednecks"("Samura's Optic"). In the end, it really is the production that saves Time Being; worth special mention are the medieval singsong of "First Person," the breathy bump of "Nothing's Sacred," and the acoustic twinge of "Samura's Optic," which could very well be a Four Tet nod.