Kidz In The Hall
Land of Make Believe
(Duck Down Music)

Beats: XL
Lyrics: L
Originality: XL

Quite simply, Kidz in the Hall’s new LP, Land of Make Believe, is designed to attract a bigger audience. Whether it’s resident lyricist Naledge getting personal or in-house producer Double-O going sample free, this is the duo’s most commercially viable effort so far.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “Jukebox,” an enjoyable ode to rump shaking, is an early indication of the album’s upbeat direction. The pace continues on the vibrant “L_O_V_E” and the epic “Take Over the World,” a thrusting anthem suitable for packed stadiums.

Even if the Kidz’ third disc feels more mainstream than their last, 2008’s The In Crowd, the group still supplies its trademark braggadocio on the posse cut “Fresh Academy” (with Chip Tha Ripper and Donnis). They really win with self-reflective moments, like the apologetic “Do It All Again (I Am)” and their honest assessment of industry fakeness “I Am (Reprise).”

From the aforementioned tracks, the album might sound cliché, but it isn’t. The tandem intuitively displays a concept—the grind, fame, and reconciliation—by evolving the lyrical content and changing the aural backdrops. Minus a clumsy hook on “Bougie Girls” and an odd throwaway line (“I used to say I wanted to be a pilot when I grow up/Now I just look fly when I show up”) on “Rise & Shine,” this Land of Make Believe is well worth a long stay. —Jaeki Cho