Sene Brooklyknight

After a five-year stint on the West coast, the man who made his name a few years back with like-minded lyricist Blu returns to his roots and hometown on his unsurprisingly solid sophomore set, Brooklyknight. Delving deeper into an insightful and observational style soundly introduced back on his debut disc, the NYC rapper does well crafting honest and relatable slice-of-life imagery of both the city and the many experiences it creates. Sing-song-y hooks ring in themes of reflection and inspiration on smoother cuts like "Footprints" and the blissful "Holyday," its subtle synths and laidback beat proving the characteristic, though never tiring, sonic sensibility of the record's more easy-going moments. Conversely, both the sound palette and boom-bap quotient expand to great effect in moments when the wordplay gets a bit fiercer, particularly on the two-face tackling "Artificial Family" and on bragging rights earner "Backboards," the heavy hitting latter track, featuring the aforementioned Blu and produced by Sene, representing the album's high-water mark. With tight though somewhat moody production and clever lyricism, the MC/beatmaker's latest drop definitely adds another layer of dependability to his growing catalogue. (Plug Research)