For his fifth solo album, Killer Mike returns with the third installment of his I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind series. Five years after the original, the ATLien is still able to provide a conscious spark while remaining street. On the opener, “So Glorious,” Bigga sets high standards with the claim, “Pledge 3 is here, I give you the magnum opus.”

With his prose, Mike lives up to the proclamation, firing shots at political figures on cuts like “That’s Life II,” where he ethers Barack Obama and Glenn Beck. Killer turns up the heat on “Burn,” offering an unrelenting take on police brutality and organized religion. Then, on the stellar “Ric Flair,” the A-town rep speaks on leaving the hood behind over a soulful backdrop.
As is often the case with politically charged rap, the album at times comes off preachy, but it rarely oversteps the boundary. The truth is Killer is no saint himself, and he switches up the content on corner-boy anthems like the Young Jeezy–assisted “Go Out on the Town” and the No I.D.–produced “Ready Set Go,” featuring T.I.

PL3DGE is dope enough to impact both the ignorant and the enlightened. As Killer Mike proves once again, his allegiance is to the people. —Branden J. Peters