Various Soldiers of Fortune

When Little Brother emerged from North Carolina a few years ago, they were part of a formidable crew carrying the Justus League moniker. Since then, there have been a few changes. Little Brother graduated to major label status dropping the critically acclaimed yet commercially disappointing The Minstrel Show, and judging by the artists featured on this CD, the Justus League, who now go by the acronym-friendly handle HOJ, have recruited a few new members to their ranks and pushed some of the background players to the front. Of this crop, MCs Chaundon ("1NE”) and Skyzoo (S-K-Y) especially impress with their innovative song concepts and distinctive identities. The compilation also sees the growing development of Little Brother’s Big Pooh and delivers tracks from the severely underrated L.E.G.A.C.Y. However the cohesiveness of previous Justus League projects is decreased. Sonically, this is due to the fact that 9th Wonder, the crew’s most well-known producer, only contributes a few tracks to the project. While the beat selection is diverse, the quality control is still in effect. Little Brother even branch out over a bluesy riff on "Back at It,” with Queensbridge general Cormega. With their sound and approach clearly undergoing a transition it will be interesting to see where this crew’s tireless work ethic leads them. (ABB)