October 2007

Galactic - From the Corner to the Block
Anti 86889-2
Format: CD
Released: 2007

by Shannon Holliday

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

Funk jam-band rockers Galactic went out on a stylistic limb on their sixth studio release, inviting 14 of the slickest underground rappers to co-write and perform New Orleans-inspired songs. Lyrics Born sets the pace, flying and furious, with the opening track and first single, "What You Need." The bar is then continually raised by a slew of emcees slinging slick, quick verbiage. They include Boots Riley, Mr. Lif, Vursatyl, Chali 2na, and Gift of Gab.

The rhymes are bouncy and hyper, with Galactic slathering their funk on thick to make it all stick. The brass section pops like only second-line-inspired horns can, while drummer Stanton Moore plays with a signature style that confirms his status as a percussion super genius. From the swinging title track, featuring Juvenile and the Soul Rebels Brass Band, to the smooth soul of Lafeef the Truth Speaker on "No Way," each emcee has a flair all his own, and the songs are as diverse as the city that inspired them. "Second & Dryades" is hands down the funkiest track, with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux invoking the spirit of the Mardi Gras Indians, while Galactic's quasi-Brazilian rhythms fan the fire.

The producers of this recording achieve a nice analog-like sound and succeed in capturing the live vibe for which Galactic is best known. A big hip-hop hooray to the boys this time around for stepping outside the norm and delivering an inventively fresh gem.