Edgar Allen Floe

    {grate 2.5}

    Unless he’s back-pocketing some quill-affirmed creative license, Edgar Allen Floe better hope his creepy-crow namesake is nailed down solid beneath those 19th-century floorboards. The North Carolina native and Justus League underdog aims high on antique romance in christening himself the second coming, ’hood style; but after we’re done snickering, the old-dead-poet shout-out — which I’d bet good money was the brainchild of a ’storm process not unlike the naming of a bad porno — Floe’s got some serious prosey groundbreaking to live up to.

    For all the flak hip-hop’s top dollars take for ripping page after page from the tried-and-true bling-bible of hoes and auto-flows, there’s just as many (if not more) broken-record raps circulating in the chest-puffing “elevated” underground. Justus crewmates Little Brother have often managed to break out of that genre niche — you know, workin’ hard, hardly workin’, they’s some wack-black rappers, politics is serious shit, I’m true to myself, I’m diggin’ you girl, oh did I mention I was diggin’ myself — on sunshine alone, dripped in the sweet chocolate of their own raps but mostly carried by soul-sampler and general good-timer 9th Wonder, their producer and third leg.

    Floe likewise thrives on those rays of symphony (and unlike most Wonder charity projects, does clock some major studio hours with the most popular beatman there be), but the time ain’t nigh and we’re numbed to the formula. Not too much has changed since snappy debut True Links, but that was way back in ’05 when we was just some young, poetic rascals still hoppin’ to every last literary device — darker times call for deeper dives down the kitchen sink. September’s mixtape lead-up The Road to Streetwise at least rolled a little snowball of creative grime, but Streetwise LP could be any intellectual bandwagoner stoked on the utter highness of his wacky word associations (see: Gang Starr tagalong Juru the Demaja, a far flyer version of the Floe). “Make yourself useful/ Get your weight up as my pupil/ A sidekick to the official fly shit/ You better try this, this is my do-or-die hit,” he schmoozes blandly to the exhausting horn loop of “The Hit,” self-produced by alias Slicemysta (guess the ’storm sesh let out early). Listen, just there — could that be the beat of a tell-tale heart?

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