It's been years since Goodie Mob was first on the scene with their classic "Cell Therapy". Since then the group has gone through it's share of issues, from nearly tragic car accidents to the solo career of Cee-Lo Green and his Soul Machine and eventual success with Danger Mouse after forming up to create Gnarls Barkley. After too long, many fans would say, the Goodie Mob has reunited to bless us with their form of social commentary and take us back to Atlanta before the 'trap' era took over.
If you aren't familiar with Goodie Mob, the album brings back a staple of Dungeon Family albums, Big Rube with a more 'rap' version of his usual poetry. Musically, things come crashing together on "State of the Art (Radio Killa)" where the Mob raps about the fact the radio has no substance anymore and that the music is used as a controlling force. If you're a younger listener this might remind you of some Kanye type experimental rock-hop but those more familiar will see this as an ode to earlier works and yet more of the Goodie Mob's trademark eccentricities. Further example of this is the Cee-lo solo vehicle, "Power" where he screams about 'White Power' which I'm taking from the lyrics is the power he has gained from his new power and notoriety which he has turned into earning potential.
"I'm Set" is a stadium anthem chant type of song with a nice horn backing with the mob letting you know they're good and get respect in the streets or business wise. "Vallelujah" is a song about working hard and overcoming obstacles. It's a really 'big' song that isn't in the trend these days. T.I. lends a verse to "Pinstripes" which is one of those songs where the artists verify their street credentials."Special Education" with Janelle Monae is about finding your individuality in today's hip-hop where everyone is trying so hard to fit in.
Continuing with the eclectic sound is "Ghost of Gloria Goodchild" which reminds me of another straight up Cee-lo song that is co-opted for the good of the group about a woman who bucked what was expected and went her own way. It's not typical but it rocks and not just Cee-lo's hook but what Big Gipp raps as well. "Kolors" has the group getting deeper about themselves and using the theme of color to get their point across. "Come as You Are" is another in a series of 'different' songs. "Nexperience" is another cee-lo starrer that is a rock/soul fusion.
Big Fraze has a short song describing the difference between a black man and a 'real nigga' called "the Both of Me". "Amy" with V as the group talks about their very first white girl. This is actually hilarious because it's such a real song although it does just sound like they remade "Fuck You". "Understanding" with V also on, is about the side piece. The album ends with the conventional "Father Time".
Overall it was a solid album and decent return from obscurity for the Goodie Mob. However, it also shows the influence of the member of the group who has had the most success, even while the group always moved towards some more experimental sounds. The album is very interesting sonically which is more than I can say for most hip-hop these days, yet it isn't too far out there most of the time like Kanye's "Yeezus" album. Yet I wanted more music like Father time which was solid and straight forward to provide the meat of the content."Special Education" is excellent and I love "Ghost of Gloria Goodchild" but some of these songs are only for "when you're in the mood".It's not that it's a bad album, I'm just not sure all of the risks work fully and will beg repeat listens.