The Deal: Eight members reunite for first album since death of Ol' Dirty Bastard.
The Good: ODB may not be present – though they do use a previously recorded rhyme of his – but there are plenty of guest spots to help fill the gaps. Erykah Badu, George Clinton, John Frusciante and Sunny Valentine, among others, lend a hand on a variety of tracks. The album tends to have a smooth groove without the harder edge found on previous efforts, courtesy of RZA's experimental production.
The Bad: If you hear anything about the new album, chances are that the first words will refer to The Beatles and "My Heart Gently Weeps" – the first song to use a Beatles sample. The song isn't bad, but I'm not sure it deserves all the hype. I'm not sure why I was sent the non-explicit version to review – it makes for a very distracting listen. Some of it sounds disjointed – different members spitting about different topics which makes the track less coherent.
The Verdict: A lot's being made about "My Heart Gently Weeps," but it doesn't stand out any more than the others. It's a solid effort from start to finish; even the weak moments don't take away from the whole. They'll be at Amos' Southend on Jan. 20.