Aceyalone Leanin' On Slick

Aceyalone Leanin' On Slick
7
Aceyalone is an L.A. underground rap legend, as a founding member of Freestyle Fellowship and later as a solo artist, and he's continued to keep a consistent release schedule, more so than any of the other members of FF, even if the quality isn't always up to expected standards. His latest, Leanin' On Slick, is by no means as classic as his lyrically potent debut, All Don't Bounce (1995), or his follow-up concept album, A Book of Human Language (1998), but it's some of his best work in years. This is due in part to the throwback vibe of BIONIK's production: a mix of classic funk, soul, jazz and R&B with a lot of familiar samples — none more so than "Hit the Road Jack" — given an organic feel via plenty of horn, organ and guitar solos throughout. The throwback element also bleeds into the lyrics, with Aceyalone revisiting a Project Blowed tradition for the concept behind "Show Me Them Shoes." While his stories can still be good, as proven by "Things Get Better," the simpler lyrics are a far cry from his lyrically-oriented early albums, and the hooks are rather lame, with only a few exceptions — most of those are assisted by the likes of guests Daniel Merriweather ("Things Get Better") and Gnarl's Barkley's Cee Lo Green ("Workin' Man's Blues"). Still, thanks to the production, the guests and Acey's charisma, Leanin' On Slick is a fun, funky feel-good album for the summer. (Decon)