I can’t attest to ever being a huge fan of Big Pooh, Phonte or any of the Justus League collective, partly because of the overt feeling that they’re rhyming conscious but “they ain’t saying nothing”. Especially when it comes to Big Pooh who seems to be the king of meaningless words that still flow beautifully over a 9th Wonder production. Well, maybe that’s a little harsh, since Pooh and Phonte have done some quality work in their short career. Still, it was this album that I found the most impressive in the whole Little Brother discography. Better than Get Back, The Minstrel Show and Separate But Equal. Upon first listen, I was almost deterred because of the cover. What accomplishments does Rapper Big Pooh have to warrant any comparisons with J Dilla? None really, but this album is taking a step into the right direction…
The Strongest Man
Exhibit A (word to Poe Picasso) of Big Pooh not really saying anything worthwhile, but still sounding pretty good on the final cut. If you really want my opinion, this song is a perfect embodiment of how conscious hip-hop has gotten tired and played out. “Rock to the rhythym/You can’t see me/Chillin on the cut/Yeah, that’s where you’ll find B”. Still this track is just friendly piffle that you can’t really hate on, no matter how many times you’ve heard a song almost identical to it before.
Heart Of The City
I’ve gotten into a few arguments lately about 9th Wonder’s status as one of today’s best producers and I always use this instrumental as proof that 9th is on his way to Madlib-esque martyrdom in the underground hip hop community. Pooh on the other hand, impresses, but lacks the lyrical prowess to really make your jaw drop. The track as a whole is a definite blunt-lighter.
Scars (Cut Me Deep)
This is that dope posse cut I needed to hear. Justus League weed carriers Median and Joe Scudda come semi-hard (no homo), but Pooh smashes the first verse.
To be honest, this was my true motivation to listen to Sleepers in the first place. It was never really about Big Pooh, but moreso about 9th the whole time. This track is interesting because you get to see the 10-1′th Wonder cook up an instrumental that both Pooh and MURS can comfortably glide over. Dope shit, aside from the hook which was just embarrassing.
Those were four of my favorite cuts off this album, all the other joints were pretty weak. Still, on an instrumental level this album is not bad, and when Pooh comes through and kicks some real shit on the mic this becomes one of the better Little Brother projects.
0-20: Terrible listening experience
21-40: Maybe one good song
41-60: A few good songs
61-80: Half are good songs, half are weak
81-100: Great listening experience, almost all are great song
I give this album an 77 on second listen.