Hot Thing (featuring Will.i.am)
Label: Blacksmith/Warner Records
Talib tags his critics as reductionists, laments a dream still deferred and pleads for the idea of music bereft of fan politics. It's noble stuff, for sure, but the unrelenting flurry of themes feels a bit slapdash at times. Still, Eardrum is perhaps his most consistent album to date and contains some of the BK emcee's finest moments. "Country Cousins," with guest emcees UGK, is relaxed and virtuosic; "Soon the New Day" (produced by Madlib) is a lovely and diaphanous slice of smoky jazz; and "In the Mood" features a supremely soulful turn from vibes legend Roy Ayers.