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Aceyalone, ‘Aceyalone & The Lonely Ones’ (Decon)

Aceyalone’s ninth solo album is one of the year’s most unexpected hip-hop pleasures, with the Los Angeles MC switching gears from his inventive and hugely influential rapid-fire rhyme style. On The Lonely Ones, he pays loving homage to doo-wop and Motown, spinning lyrics about civil rights (“Power to the People”), partying, and chasing women (“The Lonely Ones,” “Step Up”). The music, produced by newcomer Bionik, skews close to Mark Ronson’s self-consciously throwback pop-soul, But Acey’s care-free, curse-free lyrics are delightfully fresh and unpre- tentious, and he sounds like a relaxed master at play.