Awol One & Daddy Kev Souldoubt

With many delays from Celestial on the release of Speakerface, Awol's supposed debut, his second completed full-length becomes his new debut. And Souldoubt is some debut. Why? Well, you're getting the full package. Producer Daddy Kev has supplied Awol with mostly up-tempo, slamming beats that force more intensity into Awol's usually slack flow. However, make no mistake - with or without the intensity - Awol's vocal delivery flawlessly melds with his lyrics to bury the emotions that much deeper in despair. Pure and simple, Awol is singing the blues. Anyone who has any doubts need only listen to "Devotion," wherein Awol opens up about being away from his girlfriend while on tour. Like most of his lyrics, they're personal and about the things the majority of people experience, or at least the people that work hard every day just to get by in life. In other words, as Awol rhymes on "Feel," "I represent people who represent lesser." Once one deciphers Awol's odd wordplay, anyone can relate. Then add Daddy Kev and Invisibl Skratch Piklz DJ D-Styles to the mix and you have the recipe for an underground hip-hop sensation. A classic! The trio kicks things off with the one-two punch of "Ignorance" and "Rhythm," which grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go until you're blue in the face, gasping for wee bits of air. And they don't let up until "Revolution," eight tracks in, which waxes introspectively on the topic of "liquid love." At 11 songs in length, Souldoubt is pleasantly short but sweet, the kind of album that leaves you wanting more. (Mean St.)