Jesse Boykins III & Melo-X Zulu Guru

Jesse Boykins III & Melo-XZulu Guru
Romantic Movement leading lights Jesse Boykins III and MeLo-X have been making plenty of moves below the radar over the past couple of years, the former dropping a number of earthy, soul-rich solo experiments, along with a buzz-catching mixtape with Theophilus London, the latter reconstructing popular tunes into a slew of deadly remixes. The two join forces here for their first industry-backed release, melding traditional rap and soul with an expansive, genre-snatching palette of dynamic sounds and rhythms, running from the thick, dance floor-directed "Primal Chance" and "I'm New Here" to the delicate "Change of Heart" and pleading dirge "Outta My Mind." The often float-y though melodically inventive Boykins is strongest when paired with his producer/MC cohort, who more than holds his own on cuts like the reserved "Black Orpheus" and blazing "Tribe of Mustafa," but does best with Boykins on a stabbing remix of ANGO's scorned lover plea, "Better For You." While the more romantic touches may not work for all, there's plenty of meaty goodness to balance out the lighter fare. (Ninja Tune)