A-Plus’ highly anticipated debut solo album My Last
Good Deed has taken long enough. After many years of touring the
country as a member of the Hieroglyphics and Souls of
Mischief, the man has finally laid down his solo LP (not to be
confused with A+ The Latch-Key Child). Expectations
are often hard to live up to, and after such a long, respectable career,
expectations were incredibly high for this solo debut.
The album opens and ends with spoken word poetry, which is an indication of
what can be expected on the album. The poetic rhyme pieces by A-Plus
on this album give you sincerity throughout the LP as he speaks freely about
his life: “No obstacle could stop my pull/ it’s something you gots to know:
I’m not for bull,” he raps on “Goodtime Charlie.” Through his words,
the perseverance and honesty he possesses is also evident.
Creativity also helped A-Plus as he maneuvered through “My Dub Song”
with its imaginative dub lines. On other tracks he speaks on everything from
love to weed, but keeps it classy throughout: “Dealin’ with hoes and
bitches could make you chauvinistic/but I’m from the O, where the game shows
you the difference,” he says on the album, adding a sense of hometown
pride and emotional openness most rappers shy away from.
A-Plus isn’t shy about anything, though, not even cops: “Them
shady cops, they wondering what we up to/Go find out who killed my auntie and
uncle/Till then: Fuck you.”
While some topics aren’t the most imaginative (weed), the album showcases
superb flow and lyrical complexities the Hiero and Souls
crews were known for. Handling the bulk of the production for the album, A-Plus
also shines on the boards. While not every song is all that impressive
beat-wise, the album does have some high selling points when it comes to
instrumentation. A-Plus and Co. create a sonic backdrop that
is as smooth as the early 90’s with “It’s a Beautiful Thing,” “My Last Good Deed”
and more. Using some diversity, Plus’ production on the LP
ranges from Jamaican music to mellowed out Hip Hop nicely. Diversity being a
key point in instrumentals here, one song actually flips into two beats as Del
Pep Love join him for some nostalgia.
Overall, few missteps and some ill wordplay create a positive listening
experience. Some may think it’s “too much” on the lyrical tip, but even most
beats are nice enough to nod your head to (or at least vibe with). This is not
perfect and you don’t have to be a Hiero fan to “get” this
album. Still, creative concepts, complex rhyme schemes and more of what is
found here add up to why Hiero has had such staying power, and
why A-Plus’ album was worth the wait.