Little Brother, 'LeftBack' (Hall of Justus)

7
LeftBack
Critical Mass
Label: Hall of Justus

by Mosi Reeves

Throughout the aughts, this crafty Durham, North Carolina group has stubbornly explored working-class black life, but now they're finally calling it quits to focus on other careers. MCs Big Pooh and Phonte depart with an epilogue of new tracks and outtakes from 2007's Getback (their first album without cofounder-producer 9th Wonder), and it's like a hastily written open letter, with loose, spiky rhymes and rangy beats. Even amid the odds and sods, though, Phonte's honesty is bracing. "Truthfully, I don't think the rap game needs savin'," he asserts on "Tigallo for Dolo." "I think we've got wives and sons that need raisin'."

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