The return of CL Smooth

CL Smooth

American Me Download
Call On Me Download
Heaven Is Watching You Download
from American Me (2006, Shaman Work)
Buy at iTunes Music Store

Sure we all like to reminisce over a youth when Pete Rock was to CL Smooth what Eric B was to Rakim, but it’s been a damn long time since we had to think in SAT analogies. It’s also been as long since the Mecca Don’s dropped anything substantial, aside from the occasional cameo, fueling fallacious speculation that he was somehow incapable of spitting over anything but Rock hardness. American Me isn’t just a return to form, it’s a 16-track rebuttal to a decade’s worth of shit-talking. CL’s unmistakably polished flow and effortless, assault-then-flatter-you delivery still glistens, and resonates well beyond nostalgic value. Arsonist, Kaygee and Tramp put the vet in his comfort zone with production that’s alternately jazzyfat-soulful and furiously pounding, Youngins could mistake the sing-songy hooks on the standout title track and closer “All We Ever Know” as 50 cent knockoffs. Do your part and give ’em a history lesson. (Kevin Polowy)

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