Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Kool A.D.: Word O.K. [Bandcamp download, 2014]
After releasing six mixtapes between February 2013 and March 2014, the multicultural who broke up Das Racist rested, and this was a good place to stop--a culmination, temporary or maybe not. Splitting the difference between modest confidence and cool diffidence, he claims "best rapper in the world" as a joke because these days a joke is a lot better than nothing if it's brainy and benevolent and keeps you in food, shelter, and airplane travel. Old materials you won't mind hearing again are recycled occasionally. First-string cameo providers Lady Bug, Talib Kweli, and Del the Funkee Whatever add class. Amaze 88 and the beatmaking corps keep the flow relaxed, strange, and thrift-store lush. Near the end of the opening "Open Letter," this best rapper in the world tosses off a metaphor that rhymes with "metaphor": "If you headed for a wall you better set a course through a door." Clearly, that's what he thinks he's done. Here's hoping that door either stays open or led him into a room where he can get his work done when he's in the mood. A