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Guilty Simpson

Ode to the Ghetto is Guilty Simpson's debut LP, but independent hip-hop fans will be familiar with the cocksure delivery of this Detroit-bred affiliate from the work he did with the late J Dilla. Check "Clap Your Hands" from the Chrome Children comp for an airtight testimony of a guest spots-heavy résumé, or even beatmaker/emcee Black Milk's standout "Sound the Alarm" for the expectedly slick drop-in from Guilty. Ode's production load was mostly spread to his friends (J Dilla, Black Milk, Madlib, Oh No, and D-12's Mr. Porter), but the crisp beats don't overshadow Guilty's flow. There's plenty of hood talk here, such as the threat-peddling that takes place on "Robbery," and disappointing sexist complaints on "She Won't Stay at Home." Guilty's animosity shouldn't surprise his admirers, because he's carried an anvil-sized chip on his shoulder since his warpath on Jaylib's "Strapped," and, well, just because he's underground doesn't mean he's friendly. But his passenger-seat commentary on Ode is just as prominent: terse and spirited observations over Madlib's rattling "Pigs" rhythm (which doubles as "Freeze" on the producer's Beat Konducta in India [Vol. 3-4]) and Black Milk's melodic "The Real Me" backdrop should snag Guilty some indie ascendance if his colorful drop-in list hasn't already done the job.

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Dominic Umile

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