Kaze & 9th Wonder Spirit of '94: Version 9.0

Undoubtedly the most proficient crew wreckin’ shop right now in the world of hip-hop, the Justus League continues its ’05 takeover bid via the partnership of 9th Wonder of Kazé on Spirit of ’94: Version 9.0. Kazé comes across as your everyday nine to five emcee doing his all to promote the culture, be it on wax, or by beaming hip-hop into the homes of hundreds of thousands of American TV viewers with his Hip-hop Nation program as he’s been doing for the last few years. On Spirit, 9th Wonder brings his characteristic soulful infusion to the boards as the North Carolina-based rhyme-slayer demonstrates his adeptness on the mic, reminiscing about the days of old (as on the album’s title track) and articulating the universal struggles of the present. He shares the heartfelt tale of the loss of his unborn child on "Should’ve Been There,” and waxes poetic about the essence of life on "Soul Dojo,” a cut so sweet as to warrant different 9th Wonder variations. The album’s single notable misstep comes with "Waiting to Exhale,” a track that proves once again that songs written entirely about a man’s love for the herb — whether you agree with smoking or not — are infantile and wack. There’s enough goodness here, however, to help all forgive this unfortunate digression on an otherwise solid LP. (Brick)