One of the best things about Midwest hip-hop is that it's not beholden to any one sound. Detroit-based lyricist Asylum 7 and his production partner, Eddie Logix, recently dropped a solid 16-track album that purposely shifts among various beats and rhyming patterns without even remotely sounding like they're jocking anyone's style. At times, it's got '90s boom-bap appeal on cuts like the hard-hitting "Son of the Rocklords," and on other tracks, there are traces of broken beat and grime, which is a nice changeup. It's easy to get caught up in the honest, air-tight delivery of Asylum 7 and the astral beats that Logix cranks out and initially be blown away. Hell, call them the Danger Mouse and Jemini of 2008. Delve a little deeper into this one, however, and you'll also notice the political overtones and raw emotion that exist beneath the surface. The most controversial track here, "Man Up," plays out like a battle of the sexes, and the title alone speaks for itself. But don't mistake it for misogynistic hood-hop. Dude has a point he's trying to articulate about the state of relations between men and women, and at least he's "man" enough to say what's on his mind. Must-hear tracks include "Socializing" and "Saturdays," the latter being one of the best underground tracks of the year.