Underrated yet tight producer Apollo Brown links up with another underrated MC in the form of Guilty Simpson for this "Dice Game" release. Much like Apollo's album with OC this year (the awesome "Trophies"), it's all him behind the boards while GS handles things on the mic, and what we get is a damn good mix of head noddin production with tight lyrics to match.
Within recent times, I feel the first song on an album will say a lot about the rest of the album going forward, and if it starts things off the right way, you can expect thumbs up results from the rest of the album. In this case, the albums starts off proper with "Reputation", featuring a nicely flipped sample courtesy of Yvonne Fair's "Let Your Hair Down", and if you're familiar with Jay-Z's classic song "Where I'm From", you'll recognize this beat. The momentum continues with straight bangers in the form of the C.R.E.A.M. sampled "Let's Play", the apply titled "One Man", "The Cook Up", "I Can Do No Wrong", and the thought provoking "Change". It doesn't stop there, as "Neverending Story" is GS' "dedication to wisdom", and it's a great listen ("you can't tell me nothin, I'm tryin to tell you somethin") and "Truth Be Told" is an honest track as the song title suggests. Only two guests appear on this album, as underground favorite Torae shows up on "Potatoes", and Planet Asia almost steals the show on the adrenaline laced "Nasty".
All is not perfect on this album though, as songs like "Dear Jane", "Ink Blotches", and the album's closer "How Will I Go" all have ok beats (nothing special), but GS still brings it on a lyrical level. These songs aren't wack or outstanding, but they're smack dab in the middle.
This is quite the excellent album here, as Apollo continues to shine behind the boards and Guilty Simpson to continue to get better, while still remaining underrated. Recommended album.
Rating- 4 stars
Replay factor- Slightly strong
Recommended listening- Check out "Ode To The Ghetto" and the self titled Random Axe album (Sean Price, Guilty Simpson, & Black Milk)