Los Angeles punk crew hit a sweet spot between hedonism and poignancy on a multi-layered second album
Album of the year so far.
Hence 'Country Grammar', slurred and slow and damn proud of it. Nelly is legit and eased between Cedric The Entertainer's dumb-ass yokel 'Intro' and 'Outro' is the year's dreamiest new hip-hop discovery. Nelly takes Tupac's sensitive use of soulbro' history, wacks in some of that good ol' Ruff Ryders rumpus, rolls it together with a pinch of pungent Cypress Hill and exhales it cool, clear and original.
A rarity for a rap album - make that any album - there's no waste on 'Country Grammar', no fillers or bummers. The whole deal just cruises. 'Ride Wit Me' is glorious, streamlined on DeBarge and easily the most seductive rap/pop crossover since Tupac's 'California Love'. 'Luven Me' also tips respect to Shakur, a sweet virtual rewrite of the deceased's 'Dear Mama', while 'Wrap Sumden' is a riotous weed anthem, Nelly so high, he can hardly be arsed to finish his lines. 'Batter Up' is like DMX with a humour infusion, a bold, barking claim to the big league, 'Utha Side' is like feline and focused Prince before he went bonkers and traded in songs for jams, and 'EI' is just one big-up whoop of testosterone.
Little wonder, then, that the A&R machine is currently cruising the St Louis environs for more where this came from. They won't find it, of course. This one's one in a million; pure gold. Album of the year so far.
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