Spyda “the Wise Musician” — Mr. Metaphor 

Yes, it’s filled with the typical big-balls braggadocio that has become a hallmark of most hip-hop, but what makes Spyda’s album so refreshing is the way he backs those balls up: He has a sound harder than anything on the radio right now. In a world of punk-ass Tiger Beat tween faves like Drake and Wiz Khalifa as the genre’s new faces, it’s nice to hear a rapper who’s actually vicious again, like a growling Scarface in his prime.

“Champion,” featuring Kenya SoulSinger on vocals, is a ready-made soundtrack for a modern blaxploitation flick, while the title track, with its pulsating flute loops, is a jazzy number best suited for a well-outfitted car stereo, perfect for cruising down neighborhood streets.

With “M.U.S.I.C.,” Spyda’s production takes the forefront, melding seamlessly with guest vocalist Pete Palamour’s retro-New Jack Swing refrains — so much so, it’s hard to argue with Spyda when he’s brags that “one of the best that ever did it.”

The true standout is the rocker “Get at Ya,” with its Prince-like guitar power chords repeating as Spyda declares lyrical war on those who just don’t get it. The track’s not even three minutes long, but that’s all it needs to prove its point — the point being that Mr. Metaphor succeeds, on all creative levels. —Louis Fowler

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