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Noisy Neighbors

Latrell James, ‘Twelve’

Latrell James

Twelve

It’s not hard to find an aspiring, talented rapper with big dreams of success; what’s more difficult is finding one whose conviction is utterly convincing. Judged by his meticulously composed, conceptually ambitious “Twelve,” rapper/producer Latrell James justifies his high expectations with some stellar material. That’s not to say he feels entitled, as he muses about his artistic struggles over the organ groove of “Distance” (“I heard no when I needed favors, when I just needed an ear they thought I was hitting that paper/if you [expletive] now, you’ll [expletive] later, and that [expletive] suits you well, Craig Sager” he quips). James isn’t the type to waste words, and his ability to integrate his ideas into a cohesive lyrical and instrumental performance resonates on each of the album’s 12 tracks. The murky knock of “1+1=6” serves as a platform for James to paint a richly detailed portrait of his family relationships, while he uses a dynamic and melodic flow to celebrate a taste of success on “99 Altima,” boasting that the titular car “might smell funny, but it’s mine though.” Not only does “Twelve” meet Latrell’s own high expectations, it also might just exceed everyone else’s. (Out now)

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Martín Caballero

Essential “99 Altima”


Martín Caballero can be reached at caballeroglobe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @_el_caballero.