Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Mr. Hood [Elektra, 1991] Choice Cuts
  • Bl_ck B_st_rds [Sub Verse, 2001] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Mr. Hood [Elektra, 1991]
"Mr. Hood at Piocalle's Jewelry/Crackpot"; "Mr. Hood Gets a Haircut" Choice Cuts

Bl_ck B_st_rds [Sub Verse, 2001]
The rare great lost album that justifies its legend, this was held back by Elektra in 1993, supposedly due to the lynching cartoon on the cover, although the fading sales of conscious hip hop and the death by automobile of 20-year-old D.J. SubRoc couldn't have helped. Not quite great, maybe; slightly dated, even. But it moves more confidently than 1991's Mr. Hood, and confident movement freshens the St. Ides and Somalia references decisively. Right or wrong, the crew's two founding brothers are exhilarated by their belief that hip hop can persuade the youth to watch out for cancer sticks and nibble plum pudenda, by their mastery of a sonic layering that assumes the Bomb Squad and has fun with it, by bass player B. Thompson. Of course, they're also exhilarated by each other, and that wasn't gonna last. But make a face at Elektra anyway. A-