Eligh & AmpLive Therapy at 3

Therapy at 3 begins with a hypnotizing countdown, a fitting intro for an album that serves as art therapy for Living Legends rapper/producer Eligh. While he often produces his music, here he focuses on the lyrical content and delivery, delving into a diverse series of topics that include his past loves ("Beautiful Addiction"), his battle with cigarettes ("Devil's Medicine"), his obsession with tattoos ("Tattoo Song") and even his use of art as therapy ("Metronome"). Plus, there are random pockets of braggadocio, from hard-to-argue facts like "DIY was made by Journeymen tapes" ("What's In A Name?") to fantastical imagery like "two cocks, one below/one made of sound waves fucking with disc jocks" ("Stethoscope"). As a rapper who came up in the L.A. underground of the mid- to late '90s, Eligh is certainly skilled at styling on the mic, effortlessly flipping back and forth between slower flows and tongue twisters. But as good as Eligh gets, this is a collaborative project that owes just as much to the production of Zion I producer Amp Live, who mixes his underground hip-hop with electronic influences and live instrumentation. It's a good match, from Amp Live's mellow, jazzy "Metronome" through to the aggressive "Stethoscope" to the weird and minimal "L.A. Dreamers." Of everything, the definite highlight is "Destination Unknown," a teaming of Eligh and Amp Live with their usual recording partners, G&E's the Grouch and Zion I's Zumbi, for an electro-funk posse cut. "First Contact" may sound like the beat was originally for a Zion I album and "Stethoscope" is obviously inspired by Kool Keith, but neither suffers for that. Rather, Therapy at 3 is a great collaboration album that should see Eligh expanding his fan base. And hopefully the first is not their last. (Legendary)