Friday, January 1, 2010

Boy Meets World

by Fashawn
Exile's been doing some great work lately. His album with Blu a couple years back was an instant classic, and his 'Radio' disk was one of my favorites of 2009. Now he's hooked up with Fashawn, a young rapper from Fresno, California, and produced another excellent album.

Fashawn is another rapper, like Brother Ali, who comes across as a nice guy. He fills his album with a realistic, yet ultimately optimistic, world-view, not shying away from the struggles he's faced in life, but also choosing (at least I presume) to not exaggerate them for commercial gain and notoriety. He clearly believes in the value of working hard, and applies this earnestness to every facet of the album, making it a debut of high quality and consistency.

High points on this album include 'Freedom', which samples Talib Kweli for an effective hook; 'Hey Young World', with Aloe Blacc helping out on an old standard; 'Life as a Shorty', and the sing-alongable 'Sunny CA'. Blu steps in and helps out with 'Samsonite Man', a song about travelling, and Exile even steps to the mic with 'Bo Jackson'. 'Boy Meets World', the title track, brings the album to a close with some lovely a capella singing.

This is one artist to watch for the next decade.

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