Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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***1/2

GABRIEL TEODROS
Lovework
MassLine

Ethiopian-American MC stakes out his own patch of hip-hop

"We rock shows/mostly white folks come out," acknowledges twenty-six-year-old Gabriel Teodros toward the end of his solo debut. It's a typical ploy for the Seattle rapper, at once situating him in the underground and, by its candor, raising him a little above it. Teodros pumps a quiet flow over producer Amos Miller's keyboard-based beats -- think Toronto's K-Os, only deeper and more swinging. He's conscious, diligently pro-woman, even slipping into the lamentably uncolloquial word cluster "greed, homophobia and sexism" (he's against 'em). But because he's the son of an Ethiopian immigrant, his Afrocentric politics take on a compelling extra measure of knowledge and entitlement -- especially on the geopolitically detailed "East Africa" and the respectfully un-Rastafarian "In This Together." Teodros has brains, musicality and a refreshing attitude. It's such a relief to encounter an alt-rapper who never once whines about his anxiety or wallows in his disempowerment.

Rolling Stone, Mar. 22, 2007