Aloe Blacc - Good Things

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When the outstanding "I Need A Dollar" leaked a few months back, it was a thrill to hear Aloe finally finding what he'd been searching for.

>Some of the greatest music ever recorded is a genre generally referred to as soul. It is also one of the pillars upon which Hip Hop was built. Unfortunately sometime among the rise of Hip Hop we saw the demise of Soul and R&B. The genre became over-run with manufactured Pop tarts and wanna-be rappers who were (and are) little more than smut peddlers with some chops. 

So it would only be appropriate in this topsy turvy world that a veteran underground emcee would bring us one of the best soul albums in recent memory.

Aloe Blacc, perhaps better known as the rhyming half of Emanon with producer Exile, has been cutting his teeth on the left coast's underground circuit for more than a decade. Early Emanon cassettes like Acid Nine and Imaginary Friends were tape trader favorites before MP3s and upload sites killed the hobby. In 2002 the duo released the gem of Ill Boogie Records’ acclaimed Earplug series called Anon & On. The EP kicked off with “What You Live For,” featuring verses tackling the issues of today’s women, materialism and morals that remain some of the best bars of that decade.

It was shortly after this EP that Aloe cut back on the hot 16’s and began experimenting with other genres and often melting them together. Both Emanon’s The Waiting Room in 2005 and Aloe’s Stones Throw debut in 2006 were chalk full of forays into the wide world of music. While The Waiting Room had winners like “The World Don’t Sing,” Shine Through was largely misses. Some very bad ones at that. So when the outstanding “I Need A Dollar” leaked a few months back, it was a thrill to hear Aloe finally finding what he’d been searching for.

“I Need A Dollar” was indicative of Aloe’s direction in Good Things, who doesn’t rap a single word here. For those new fans who heard Aloe’s single as the theme for HBO’s How To Make It In America, they get plenty of what they came looking for. Aloe’s entrancing cover of Velvet Underground’s oft-covered “Femme Fatale” is among the best you’ll hear. “Green Lights” may not be a cover, but it may as well be considering the Stevie Wonder vibe it carries. Good Things isn’t all retrospective though. Some of the strongest cuts are both very contemporary and Island flavored; “Miss Fortune” boasts Aloe’s top-notch songwriting while “If I” highlights his impressive chops.

Some listeners may not be moved by “Momma Hold My Hand,” but it surely won’t be those with an aging mother. As a stand alone track “Hey Brother” works well, like a score to Ron O’Neal breezing down the block. But as a part of this LP, particularly after the emotionally charged ode to his mother, it is the one and only mis-step on the LP. The title track is also a cut below the rest of the LP, but it does little damage. The expression “a breath of fresh air” may be one of the more overused descriptions going, but if Good Music isn’t just that, then I don’t know what is. Aloe has spent on a long time on the independent grind, this is his time to finally shine through.


  • Anonymous

    madlib, how long before u remix this shit?

  • Anonymous

    Not really feeling this music.... acttualy its not a hip hop music but some mix Soul/jazz/ alt. hip hop music Dont really feel that

  • hell 2 the nah

    review's a bit generous

  • JL

    It's a great album. The songwriting is for the most part really good and the production values are what you'd expect for trying to capture the feel of early 70s soul, right down to the crackling of the record, like it's been here for years. On The other hand, masterpiece...not quite. Compared to its source material, it's just another good record, but just think, if someone could put out something as revolutionary as "What's Going On" in a climate like todays'.

  • eeeee

    Best album of the year along with janelle monaes album

  • Sunday

    And Blu and Exile need to come out with another album! Them 2 is like PB&J

  • Sunday

    Its amazing to me how so many people take the time to give feedback on people like Drake, Nikki Gucc and LIL Wayne when they dont like them, they give these long as detailed reviews on how and why they suck but when a artist of quality comes around they dont say anything at all, this album is organic and in these days and times its amazing that someone has the ability to put out something so unpretentious and and raw. You guys are ALWAYS complaining about music not being good any longer is some good music all you have to do is recognize it. Aloe Blacc has been grinding for years and just when you forget about him BAMN right back atcha, but anyone who has the smarts to aline themselves with EXILE mos defiantly has the ability to do great things.

  • Rich

    the album is fire... nice songwriting. something needed in the music industry right now. that "if I" song is banging! best review and album up here in months regardless what genre music you listen to.

  • Moose

    Been on repeat for the past week and copped vinyl yesterday

  • Brandon Adair

    Smooth. I like it.

  • Troof

    I wonder how albums like this are gonna be received on a site full of internet thugs and male Drake groupies...this belongs on OKAYPLAYER if you ask me... But anyway, this album is a bona-fide classic. I haven't felt this way about a soul r&b album since Anthony David's - Acey Duecy, or The Foreign Exchange... It's just a masterpiece, I'm almost surprised it didn't just get five stars...


      Just to be fair internet thugs are people just like you and I. And if you know like I know people listen to all types of music. So I wont be surprised if those same internet thugs not only like Aloe Blacc but knew of him before I may have. If internet thugs are anything like their thugged out street counterparts then i would also imagine they listen to everything from Elton John - Ray would be surprised whats in the toughest or weakest dudes music files/music is universal.

    • 718rob

      the fuck is your point?

  • currymedia

    I listened to this whole album the other day. It's pretty good if you like Bill