INTELLIGENCE AND IGNORANCE
Dividing hip-hop into the two categories described in the title of Edo G’s new album is quite the broad brushstroke, and Boston hip-hop’s elder statesman knows that all too well. Ever since his 1991 debut, “Life of a Kid in the Ghetto,” the Roxbury native has made a career at the intersection of both, extracting moments of wisdom from his experience as that ghetto kid with a greater sense of purpose that few others have equaled. “Intelligence” honors that legacy well. On “Easy,” he speaks urgently and directly to his community: “I love Obama, but he ain’t the savior / no love in my community, we don’t love thy neighbor.” Working almost exclusively with producer Micro-phono, tracks such as “Hold U” and “Can’t Wait” find Edo sounding inspired and engaged, both lyrically and musically. His message is more consistent than the album itself, though, which clocks in at a quick 32 minutes. And while adding some levity to the serious proceedings isn’t a bad idea, attempting a loopy sexed-up dance track like “Give It to Me” probably is. Imperfect though it might be, “Intelligence” presents Edo as dedicated and determined a voice for the kids in the ghetto as he’s ever been.
EssentiaL: “Hold U”Martín Caballero can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @_el_caballero.