Smif N Wessun The Album

Two years after the release of their last album, Reloaded, Bucktown duo Smif N Wessun return with their fourth official offering, The Album. Recorded in Sweden and produced entirely by Swedish rapper and producer Ken Ring, with co-production by Collen & Web, Rune Rotter, Tommy Tee and Soul Theory, the 14-track disc is permeated with melancholic grittiness and reflects an older, wiser Tek and Steele. "Trouble,” for instance, touches on highly personal strife — the death of a sibling, disappointing ones parents, getting caught up in the street life — while "Who Gonna Save Us” ruminates over social issues like Katrina, army recruitment, war and politics. Songs such as singles "Stomp Thru” (featuring Rock of Heltah Skeltah and Joell Ortiz) and "Gotta Say It” (featuring Chukii Star) lighten what is otherwise a heavy album. Although, as a whole, it remains somewhat dreary and rather mood-specific, running short on energy and aggression. (Duck Down)