Raheem Jamal Boombox

Raheem Jamal Boombox
If a hip-hop record can truly be viewed as any other in a wider musical context, then the amount of genuine depth and revelation found on the debut solo set from Boston MC Raheem Jamal is exactly what you should hope for from a distinctive artist album. Boombox offers a prime serving of intelligent lyrics and deft wordplay over cooled-out, Golden Era-informed beats, with Jamal finding equal comfort over body rocking b-boy bangers and eased back, late night grooves. Beantown producer extraordinaire Raydar Ellis handles the entire disc with a stylistically varied set of dynamically layered tracks built around cleverly sliced up instrumental phrases and nostalgic, throwback beat breaks. Jamal flips Busta’s "Ill Vibe” hook on the introspective, lazy afternoon snapshot "Goodvibe” before running roughshod over the manic, Main Source-style head-nodder "Light It Up,” while trusty beatsmith Ellis makes his mid-’90s schooling plain on the cuts-laced instrumental "Real Name.” With enough personality to separate it from the underground herd, this album will definitely grow to impress with each listen. (Brick)