Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Jean Grae: Jeanius [Blacksmith, 2008]
Her intelligent rhymes, immaculate flow, and adequate beats make her the great gorgeous mind queen rap has never had. But she's now 32, rumored to have quit the business even as Talib Kweli's label prepped this long-rumored album and Babygrande assembled a preemptive outtakes double, and more than ever failure is her great theme. Good thing she's infinitely smarter about her "insecurities" and "moodiness" than her shoegazer counterparts. And before articulating those laments, she backs up her Jay-Z impression with rhymes so jam-packed she doesn't even care, at that moment, that her music "don't make appropriate wealth." Like for instance: "Please don't be mad at me, I'd rather be liked/Because your opinion automatically matters to me. Psych." A-