As a part of a successful group, it can be hard for members to ever fully establish an individual identity. One crew that’s been able to avoid this trap over the last decade has been Little Brother. Producer 9th Wonder has crafted beats for plenty of heavyweights, and is cultivating his own artists at his label It’s A Wonderful World Music Group. Phonte has found a lane with his other group, The Foreign Exchange, and recently released his first solo album. Now, Big Pooh shows he can flex muscle well on the solo tip, too, with Dirty Pretty Things.
The album’s lead single “Medicine Man” showcases the North Carolina resident’s clear, confident delivery that he’s been polishing over his career. Pooh keeps that flow up throughout his third solo album, and on cuts like “Soul Music” and “All Around The World (Ladies Love),” he reminds of capability to connect with the listener and convey stories. Teaming up with some friends like Torae, Joe Scudda, Darien Brockington, Nottz and DJ Khalil, Pooh brings along just enough guests to keep things fresh but still maintain a feeling of ownership throughout the project.
As a full body of work, Dirty Pretty Things doesn’t recapture the magic of the Little Brother days, but instead finds its own identity and has enough dexterous wordplay and focused rhymes to quench fans’ desire. —Mark Lelinwalla