Audio Mixer: Magnetic.
Coming hot on the heels of his beat tape, Thirty Eight, plus his collaborative album with Big Pooh, Words Paint Pictures, Grandeur is an aptly titled effort from Apollo Brown, the Detroit hip-hop producer who Chino XL declares "makes music that got me risen out of the coffin." On banging numbers like "The Hard Way" from Saga and Ty Farris ("He pretendin' like he know everything/But then when you put somethin' in his ear, he don't wanna hear it") and "Enemies with Benefits" featuring Ras Kass ("Drive by with the pistol while feet on the gas/All my U.K. homies call that bangers and mash"), the thumping bass and thudding drums could certainly wake the dead, but check "Getting' By" with Big Pooh and Dynasty for some seriously smooth soul. What's surprising is how "musical" the usually gruff and guttural Vinnie Paz sounds on the highlight "Walk with Me," but MC Masta Ace almost comes off as a Chris Brown-type singer on the great "Money," so anything is possible in the Motown-loving world of Apollo Brown. Check "Yesman Shit" with Sean Price and Reks for a song so dramatic and cool it should be given to Quentin Tarantino as soon as possible, and check how this mere "producer's album" holds the attention for a whole 19 tracks when most MC LPs sputter out somewhere between ten and 12. ~ David Jeffreis
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