20 December, 2011@8:30 pm
In every group, there is always a breakout star. Michael Jackson stood out in the Jackson 5. Q-Tip is the most recognizable face of A Tribe Called Quest. You know the story. Group breaks up, one member goes on to super stardom.
In the case of Rapper Big Pooh, he found himself initially on the wrong end of the stardom tree. Largely overshadowed by former Little Brother group members Phonte and 9th Wonder, Pooh scrapped and clawed for the any recognition he got amidst a sea of criticism. Little Brother’s breakup may have been a sad day for fans of dope beats and dope rhymes but it may arguably be the greatest thing that happened to Pooh.
Totally on his own, Dirty Pretty Things is Pooh at his absolute best to date. “Interdependent” finds the North Carolina artist reflecting on his past and present. It’s a fitting precursor for the journey the listener goes on throughout the 18-track opus. Pooh’s new found confidence is evident on tracks like “They Say.” While still spitting hard, gone is the extra dose of anger that filled the rapper who used to have a chip on his shoulder bigger than a boulder. The grit is still there, but the voice tells the tale of a rapper content with his position in life. Elsewhere on the album, Pooh tag teams with Torae on “Are You Ready.” The scratch heavy hook is a throwback to the days of real hip hop and Premier production.
But it’s on “5.13.11” that Pooh really showcases his growth as an artist. The story of love gone right and wrong is a direct throwback to Nasty Nas and is one of the album’s standout tracks. It’s the seamless transition of tracks where Pooh murders the beat to more concept-based songs that make this set a complete album and not a collection of dope songs.
Dirty Pretty Things goes hard from start to finish and shows Rapper Big Pooh can stand on his own two. If this is a sign of things to come, the naysayers can no longer refer to him as “the other guy from Little Brother.”
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