It’s a sad day for Hip Hop when Ohio’s best known product is Lil’ Bow Wow,
or whatever that mutt is calling himself these days. For those who go find
their music, it is no secret that fellow Ohioans Rjd2 and Blueprint
are two of the most talented artists making rap music today. Producer Rj
and emcee/producer Blueprint are regularly monsters on their own, so as
a duo named after a club Rj used to spin at, the results should be no
different.

Print and Rj first put the world on notice in 2002 with an
incredible little 6 song EP called Unlimited. Despite being a production
wunderkind in his own right, Print stuck to the booth and let Rj
work his magic on the boards. The next year they came full length style with 8,000,000
Stories
and it was critically hailed from virtually everyone, including me.
The album was dope, no question. But for me, it was a let down. I was expecting
a little more – more than just a dope album. It would seem I was expecting Things
Go Better With Rj and Al
.

With Print getting better with each bar he spits and Rj bringing
his emcee production on par with his instrumental production, the pair takes
their music to another level this time around. Rj proves yet again to
manipulate horns better than anyone since Pete Rock with the silly dope “Hand-Me-Downs.” Meanwhile Blueprint
puts some folks on blast; but rap nowadays is by a bunch of ignorant cats/no
young, gifted and black/just guns, bitches and crack/I react by turning off
BET/and sambos telling me what black is supposed to be/used to give us world
news now its all videos/replaced Travis Smiley with reality shows.”
Never
one to shy away from dropping jewels, he spits the game of life to his niece on
“The Cool Thing To Do” and
questions just what is free in this world with “I’m Free.”

It isn’t all straight faces and questions to ponder though. Print does
some good ol’ fashioned shit-talking over a ridiculously funky Rj
offering on “The Extra Mile.”
The humor is taken up a notch with the ‘we’ve-all-been-there’ anthem “Blame It on The Jager” and the side
splitting “I Need My Minutes.”
Only an emcee this ill could make a song this good about cell phone minutes and
the thoughtless friends who love to waste them. Every step of the way Rj
brings out the best in Print and takes his rhymes from a dope concept to
a dope execution. Even with the gripping storytelling of “Keys,” it wouldn’t work quite so well
if it wasn’t kept in check by the somber guitar strings.

Track 1 through 13 is just all sorts of goodness and truth be told I could go
on all day, but we’ve both got things to do. To be brief, Things Go Better
With Rj and Al
is the best album I’ve heard in 2006. No limits, no gimmicks.