Being a part of Little Brother
[click to read] could be looked at as
a blessing and a curse. Rapper Big Pooh can certainly see it from both
sides. The blessings of being a key ingredient to one of the premier underground
groups of the 2000s are numerous. However, the curse of comparison
looms heavy. Phonte [click to read]
has done well on his own, especially with the critically acclaimed
Foreign Exchange, using producer Nicolay
[click to read]
for a soulful backdrop to accompany Phontigallo's singing and rapping.
Then you had 9th Wonder
[click to read],
who's worked with legends on his own as well as putting together a
solid catalogue of albums featuring his own production, working with
Jay-Z [click to read] to Buckshot
[click to read].

For accompanying Phonte, who at his best can compete in any
cipher, and 9th Wonder, a producer whose skills were tapped for many of
our favorite artists above ground and under it, Rapper Big Pooh had a
lot of ground to cover in the eyes of his fans. His 2005 debut,
Sleepers [click to read], showcased that
Pooh wasn't a beneficiary of being lumped together with talent. It also
showcased that there was room for improvement for the Virginia-born
emcee. His sophomore effort, Delightful Bars, shows that the hunger for
improvement is there, even if that journey is ongoing.

Rapper Big
's skills have definitely come a long way. Those remembering the oft-outshined emcee from The Listening
[click to read] and The Minstrel Show
[click to read] should be reminded that
Big Pooh has gained a stronger presence behind the microphone. His
confidence can be found in the album's lead single "Comeback," where
his microphone presence is as domineering as the crashing beat given by
[click to read].
He also uses the song to let those know that he isn't going away, only
going to get better- "I still strive to be great / but outsiders don't
understand what it takes / made plenty mistakes/learned to live with

Delightful Bars also takes the nod from the Little
LPs as it finds itself even with its production. The music
ranges from your typical emcee battle hymn "Reality Check," towards the
more chilled out "Move." Big Pooh doesn't ever sound out of range, and
he shouldn't, considering he stayed with mostly in-house with his
production. Justus League regular Khrysis helms the project with the
most production, along with Mickey Free, Illmind
[click to read] and 9th Wonder
contributing to the musical landscape.

Even so, with the
stronger lyrical performance from Big Pooh, the guest appearances are
uneven, down to the artists. Like his production, he relies on the home
team for his features. To its credit, it produces some solid guest
appearances, especially on the posse cut "Roll Call." Joe Scudda
[click to read],
Chaundon, and Jozeemo combine to make the albums stand out record.
However, there lie some failures elsewhere. Jozeemo's other appearance
on the album comes off uninspired. Torae
[click to read]
shares the same fate on the otherwise cool "It's a Go." With a majority
of the tracks coming along with help, there are times where this can
sound like a compilation album that features Big Pooh instead

it is unfair, but the sin of comparison will always looms heavy between
brothers, real or musical. Let's face it; Rapper Big Pooh may never be
as prolific as Phonte on the public stage, whether it is because of his
laid back demeanor or his skills behind the microphone. However, by the
time you hear the mellow "Rearview Mirror"
[click to read]
as it passes into the "Outro," you understand that Big Pooh is worthy
of the stage he has gotten. Not every single bite of Delightful Bars is
as sweet as the one before it, but it should be fulfilling to those who
need musical satisfaction.