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5 April, 2006@12:00 am

    Here’s how real Edgar Allen Floe is: go to his myspace site. In the omnipresent corner where every artist with a home computer pimps their shit via a slow-loading, first generation “jukebox,” the first sounds you hear will not be Floe’s. Instead you will be serenaded by the sounds of the woozy, rootsy “Whip You With A Strap” by Ghostface. Homie respects music so much he can’t even put himself on first. Only on the second track, three minutes later than typical browsers spend on a given page, will you be bombarded by Floe’s peculiar brand of insecure braggadocio.

    Continuously shouting his name from what is surely a friend’s bathroom into a bullhorn to proclaiming himself “one of the great torchbearers of this rap era” on the catchy soul of “The Torch,” Floe doesn’t ever seem to quite believe his own self-generated hype. This leads to not only an uneven listen, but something of a fascinating one. He grossly overestimates his comfort speed on title track “Floe Almighty” and never regains a hold on the beat. Diablo Archer, a far more polished and mainstream-ready emcee unintentionally one-ups Edgar on “One and One,” while Floe naively maintains “we showin’ you how it’s done.” Hell, he can’t even be found on the suddenly all-inclusive hot spots iTunes or Amazon.

    Yet there is something so endearing about this release. The production does what it can with very little, particularly 9th Wonder - who in this critic’s opinion is still not living up to his early promise - and Floe does perpetually sound canned, but the never die attitude, the very Balboaness of Allen Floe, is sure to seek out the underdog freak in all of us and exploit it for all its worth. His really needs to knock out the Russian on his next one, though, or risk losing the extra rounds he’s earned here.

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