Age Against The Machine
***and1/2 out of *****
The title which at first glance seems like a clever pun fits into the groups overall message on the album. They are older wiser and not mad, just smarter at how to get after what is best for those who want to make the world a better place.
A track like "Power" tackles this with regards to C-Lo Green in particular getting a different view on power after gaining success now and seeing white financial power particularly. Green can dominate things at times on Age Against The Machine and the beats in particular feel very inspired by him, with his current appeal and dominant tone keeping things very 2013.
The group is never looking backward, they keep their positive stance and still manage to sound hard as hell when rhyming. Big Gipp in particular gets raw about cutting people like pizza and watching the cheese spread during the groups take on gangs in "Kolors" while T-Mo rocks "I'm Set" which is a chaotic scattered jumbled tune, that some how holds up brilliantly.
Green is the focal point and even listening to past albums from the Mob he has always acted as a quasi front-man, "Amy" about an interracial love affair is whirl and he makes the "Ghost of Gloria Goodchild" into a broken down anthem with the chorus. The groups take (along with Janelle Monae's hook) on "Special Education" is just that, a critical attack on labels in education over a fantastical digital beat; it is topic tackling like this that makes Goodie Mob "special" indeed.
On the down side for a loose concept albums things don't flow very easily, partially due to the musical experimentation and the pacing. There are too many skits and the disk runs overly long at 18 songs zigging and zagging in styles. One listen is nowhere near enough to ingest all the musical madness and lyrical underpinning contained on Age Against The Machine. This is an album like it title suggests will need to age to see its real results.
While there is a rumored Outkast reunion on the horizon which will probably overshadow this reunion (like Outkast has done in the past) the fact that the M.O.B. is back on working terms and willing to stay true to their unique selves is good for everyone in the game. C-Lo Green comes out and states the groups ethos in "Special Education", "Let me put something poetic into plain English/I'd rather die than to not be distinguished". They are their own Mob.
Personal side note, Soul Food is one of my personal top five favorite hi-hop albums, I loved it then, love it now. My first true introduction to southern hip-hop and one I go back to often, happy that the whole group is back in action.
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