After more than a few group albums, the Little Brother crew seems to be moving in a direction of more solo joints. 9th Wonder already left the group and despite his semi-frequent production contributions since then, they’ve even acknowledged that they may be moving away from the continued group releases. Instead, they hope to emulate Black Star in reuniting from time to time as opposed to groups like A Tribe Called Quest or the Pharcyde. (Yes, even though both have reunited recently, the point still stands).
Thing is, after listening to The Delightful Bars and amidst 9th Wonder’s success, it’s looking like that reunion may not be necessary. The various Little Brother projects have always mixed the hardcore New York inflection with a laidback Atlanta flow reminiscent of early era Outkast. Being from North Carolina it seems as though its been the best of both worlds.
On Delightful Bars, Rapper Big Pooh makes a move towards a harder hitting sound that that starts on the first two tracks, “The Comeback” and “It’s a Go”. Pooh also uses these tracks to prove he’s only getting better on the mic with, “Eye of the beholder or eye of the tiger,I inspire a whole new breed of writers“. Pooh continues to shine on tracks with bigger bass as “Move” and “Step Up” which features an 8-bit beat circa Nintendo 1988, but works great thanks to some deep reverb that carries the undercurrent of the track.
This album has features from more than a few guest MCs especially on posse tracks “Reality Check” and “Roll Call”. Rapper Big Pooh stands out on both tracks with solid assists courtesy of Joe Scudda, Chaundon on “Roll Call” and Big Dho, D. Black and Mykestro on “Reality Check”. The only real misstep of the album may be on “The Life” fearing Muhsinah. Big Pooh tries his best to carry it, but the track seems to have 3 or 4 different sounds happening none of which seem to properly gel. It definitely gets points for trying, but just isn’t cohesive at all.
The Delightful Bars shows that Pooh is definitely stepping up his game. Now that Little Brother may not be a fallback option, it doesn’t seem to be a problem for any of its current or former members as they all look to have solid careers with only good things on the Horizon. As long as Big Pooh builds on this and what he’s already done. On the final track with a great assist from 9th Wonder Big Pooh asks, “Here Comes a New Spirit, Tell Me Can You Heat It?” Yes we can. - Dane Johnson
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