Reviewed by Steve Hayes
John Reuben continues his eclectic, almost psychedelic hip-hop crossover journey with yet another thought provoking and excellent album of storytelling. In truth, John Reuben is quietly carving out a real niche. The album gets off to a much more lively start than his introspective previous album, favouring big beats and breaks, more up-tempo than most hip-hop. "Sing It Like You Mean It" starts things off with a funky, almost Tribe-esque beat. As ever, John Reuben addresses a number of social issues. In "Trying Too Hard" John Reuben challenges people who become too cool and try too hard. On "Make Money Money" with a country banjo riff (really!), we take a look at money making and the psychology of rap entrepreneurship and social agendas, "where... the rap game is a sport of psychology/Underdogs go where they find opportunity while spoiled children romanticise poverty." There is more than one track that is almost anthemic, verging on a trip-hop break with a big sound, such as the excellent "Focus", "Universal" and another standout track, "Cool The Underdog". We journey through some catchy songs, "Word Of Mouth" with a challenge, "Are you content like me?" through to near lounge hip-hop such as the pulsating bass-driven "Miserable Exaggeration". To finalise the great range of tracks on the album, we end with "Good Evening" which has a live groovy feel and touch of the Fatboy Slim about it. With many guest musicians and quality production from Gotee, this is John Reuben at his finest.
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