Nappy Roots Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz

At first it's hard to figure out what to make of this Kentucky sextet, but once you get past their thick accents, their country image and their crunk production, this isn't a bad effort. With early Outkast being a discernible influence - one of the MCs sounds perilously close to Andre 3000 - Nappy Roots are eager to portray themselves as country boys with soul food fixations. Yet Nappy Roots' frequent discussions about money, how little they have rather than how much, emerges as the primary theme, as demonstrated on "Po' Folks." This track is anchored by an acoustic guitar and comes as a welcome sonic changeup from the piercing keyboard stabs they serve up for much of the duration. The production can often distract from the MCs lyrics, which is a shame because their honesty can't be discounted and there is something endearing about hearing someone rhyme about "Ballin' On a Budget." (Atlantic)