Grand Agent Under the Circumstances

Grand Agent is back with Under the Circumstances, his anticipated third album follow-up to Fish Outta Water. Agent has almost a decade of rap under his belt, and has worked with the likes of Kutmaster Kurt, Lord Finesse and many others. Since the move to Germany two years ago, he’s been able to experiment with different sounds and styles — enter Oh No (Madlibs’ bro). With the intros and interludes, Under the Circumstances is more of an EP than full-length with about six tracks running roughly at 22 minutes. But it’s 22 minutes of Grand Agent flippin’ his street grit over Oh No’s video game sounds and dirty, repetitive looped out rough beats that we’ve all come to know and love from the brothers Stones Throw. Oh No lays down some sick beats on "Jake Up,” which is about police presence and extortion and on "L.A. Confidential” about — yeah, you guessed it — the rap game. The album is mainly Grand Agent with a couple of guest appearances, the most exciting of which is the re-appearance of Canada's Liv L’Raynge, or just Raynge, for all those who remember her rippin’ mics in Toronto for many years. She comes correct on "Fascination,” somewhat of a gangsta-style love song, and she also spits a couple verses on "Ooh-La-Lah,” still sounding as rough and rugged as ever. The album is not as cohesive as Agent’s last two releases; it's almost a beginning and a taster. Though I’m not sure where it’s going it definitely left me wanting more. (Soulspazm)