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The Album by Smif-N-Wessun
Released: Oct 2007
Label: Duck Down Music Inc.
Though they claim "this is no sad-sack rap" on the opening track, the Brooklyn vets infuse their fourth album with interiority and melancholy, and a palpable sadness soaks through music's murky boom bap. Since birth, Tek has lived "around the block from death," while Steele's baritone has flattened into a muffled bass, and he's accepted that "even if my rhyme's crazy tight / DJs won't play me, right?" There are a couple of tracks where the duo rise above the malaise, including the excellent "Stomp" featuring Joell Ortiz, but this is the group's most narrative-driven and reflective album to date.
Sam Chennault